The Sydney Morning Herald 27 September 2020
Our additional comment: [SayNopeToDope] opposed the legalisation because it did not protect young people who were particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by the drug. “It doesn’t stop them [young people] from buying on the black market – therefore the law doesn’t accomplish its goal,” he said.
New Zealand’s looming referendum on legalising cannabis could have a significant impact on drug law reform in Australia, according to Harm Reduction Australia, and could even trigger marijuana tourism when borders between the two countries reopen.
Medical marijuana is legal in Australia and New Zealand and pot was decriminalised in the ACT under strict conditions on January 31. But legalising the growing, sale and consumption of the drug for recreational use in NZ would represent a significant expansion of the drug’s availability.
Gino Vumbaca, the president of Harm Reduction Australia – which advocates for drug law reforms – said his organisation was watching the events closely and was in regular contact with their counterparts at the NZ Drug Foundation.
Aaron Ironside, the spokesman for the Say Nope to Dope campaign, said his organisation supported medical marijuana and recent legal changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act. It instructed police to focus on people who sold and distributed the drug, rather than casual users.
The organisation opposed the legalisation because it did not protect young people who were particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by the drug.
“It doesn’t stop them [young people] from buying on the black market – therefore the law doesn’t accomplish its goal,” he said.
That’s because, Ironside said, the proposed tight regulations on the profit a grower or seller could make from a $20-gram of the drug – and harm minimisation tax that would be imposed – mean it would still be more profitable to sell it on the black market.
“14 grams a day is a lot. It’s like saying we are going to control alcohol consumption by limiting people to three bottles of vodka per day.”
Ironside was cautious about predicting the referendum outcome saying “the indications are the message is out there and getting through, and we hope New Zealanders make the right decision”.
READ MORE: https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/reefer-endum-nz-s-marijuana-vote-and-australia-20200925-p55z6v.html