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Bob McCoskrie

Auckland principals say vaping is reaching epidemic levels among students

TVNZ One News 13 September 2019
Family First Comment: “They warn that without firm action New Zealand will have a new generation of people addicted to nicotine…”
And to cannabis, if we legalise it. That’s where this is really coming from in the US.
#saynopetodope  #potvapingcrisis

Auckland secondary school principals are backing the Government’s plan to prohibit vaping flavours where there are safety concerns and say vaping is reaching epidemic levels among their students.

They warn that without firm action New Zealand will have a new generation of people addicted to nicotine.

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa said she would introduce a bill on vape regulation to Parliament in a few weeks that will have the ability to prohibit flavours where there are safety concerns.

Auckland Secondary Principals’ Association president Richard Dykes said teenage vaping had become a serious problem in some of the city’s schools.

“In some communities it is at epidemic proportions. This thing is just exploding in some schools. It seems to be more of an issue in higher-income-community schools.

“At some schools we are starting to see over 30 per cent of students have tried it. The percentages of people who are using it regularly are pushing up towards five, six-plus percent and the interesting thing about that statistic, that might seem low, but that’s in schools where smoking has hit basically zero percent.”

Mr Dykes said many students mistakenly believed vapes contained only water and flavouring and his school had teenagers who vaped and were addicted to nicotine.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/auckland-principals-say-vaping-reaching-epidemic-levels-among-students
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/398672/vaping-a-serious-problem-in-some-auckland-schools-principals

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Theodore Dalrymple – Don’t Legalize Drugs

City Journal – Spring 1997
There is a progression in the minds of men: first the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then it becomes an orthodoxy whose truth seems so obvious that no one remembers that anyone ever thought differently. This is just what is happening with the idea of legalizing drugs: it has reached the stage when millions of thinking men are agreed that allowing people to take whatever they like is the obvious, indeed only, solution to the social problems that arise from the consumption of drugs.

Man’s desire to take mind-altering substances is as old as society itself—as are attempts to regulate their consumption. If intoxication in one form or another is inevitable, then so is customary or legal restraint upon that intoxication. But no society until our own has had to contend with the ready availability of so many different mind-altering drugs, combined with a citizenry jealous of its right to pursue its own pleasures in its own way.

The arguments in favor of legalizing the use of all narcotic and stimulant drugs are twofold: philosophical and pragmatic. Neither argument is negligible, but both are mistaken, I believe, and both miss the point.

The philosophic argument is that, in a free society, adults should be permitted to do whatever they please, always provided that they are prepared to take the consequences of their own choices and that they cause no direct harm to others. The locus classicus for this point of view is John Stuart Mill’s famous essay On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of the community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” Mill wrote. “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” This radical individualism allows society no part whatever in shaping, determining, or enforcing a moral code: in short, we have nothing in common but our contractual agreement not to interfere with one another as we go about seeking our private pleasures.

In practice, of course, it is exceedingly difficult to make people take all the consequences of their own actions—as they must, if Mill’s great principle is to serve as a philosophical guide to policy. Addiction to, or regular use of, most currently prohibited drugs cannot affect only the person who takes them—and not his spouse, children, neighbors, or employers. No man, except possibly a hermit, is an island; and so it is virtually impossible for Mill’s principle to apply to any human action whatever, let alone shooting up heroin or smoking crack. Such a principle is virtually useless in determining what should or should not be permitted.

Perhaps we ought not be too harsh on Mill’s principle: it’s not clear that anyone has ever thought of a better one. But that is precisely the point. Human affairs cannot be decided by an appeal to an infallible rule, expressible in a few words, whose simple application can decide all cases, including whether drugs should be freely available to the entire adult population. Philosophical fundamentalism is not preferable to the religious variety; and because the desiderata of human life are many, and often in conflict with one another, mere philosophical inconsistency in policy—such as permitting the consumption of alcohol while outlawing cocaine—is not a sufficient argument against that policy. We all value freedom, and we all value order; sometimes we sacrifice freedom for order, and sometimes order for freedom. But once a prohibition has been removed, it is hard to restore, even when the newfound freedom proves to have been ill-conceived and socially disastrous.

Even Mill came to see the limitations of his own principle as a guide for policy and to deny that all pleasures were of equal significance for human existence. It was better, he said, to be Socrates discontented than a fool satisfied. Mill acknowledged that some goals were intrinsically worthier of pursuit than others.

This being the case, not all freedoms are equal, and neither are all limitations of freedom: some are serious and some trivial. The freedom we cherish—or should cherish—is not merely that of satisfying our appetites, whatever they happen to be. We are not Dickensian Harold Skimpoles, exclaiming in protest that “Even the butterflies are free!” We are not children who chafe at restrictions because they are restrictions. And we even recognize the apparent paradox that some limitations to our freedoms have the consequence of making us freer overall. The freest man is not the one who slavishly follows his appetites and desires throughout his life—as all too many of my patients have discovered to their cost.

We are prepared to accept limitations to our freedoms for many reasons, not just that of public order. Take an extreme hypothetical case: public exhibitions of necrophilia are quite rightly not permitted, though on Mill’s principle they should be. A corpse has no interests and cannot be harmed, because it is no longer a person; and no member of the public is harmed if he has agreed to attend such an exhibition.

Our resolve to prohibit such exhibitions would not be altered if we discovered that millions of people wished to attend them or even if we discovered that millions already were attending them illicitly. Our objection is not based upon pragmatic considerations or upon a head count: it is based upon the wrongness of the would-be exhibitions themselves. The fact that the prohibition represents a genuine restriction of our freedom is of no account.

It might be argued that the freedom to choose among a variety of intoxicating substances is a much more important freedom and that millions of people have derived innocent fun from taking stimulants and narcotics. But the consumption of drugs has the effect of reducing men’s freedom by circumscribing the range of their interests. It impairs their ability to pursue more important human aims, such as raising a family and fulfilling civic obligations. Very often it impairs their ability to pursue gainful employment and promotes parasitism. Moreover, far from being expanders of consciousness, most drugs severely limit it. One of the most striking characteristics of drug takers is their intense and tedious self-absorption; and their journeys into inner space are generally forays into inner vacuums. Drug taking is a lazy man’s way of pursuing happiness and wisdom, and the shortcut turns out to be the deadest of dead ends. We lose remarkably little by not being permitted to take drugs.

The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved. And when such a narrowly conceived freedom is made the touchstone of public policy, a dissolution of society is bound to follow. No culture that makes publicly sanctioned self-indulgence its highest good can long survive: a radical egotism is bound to ensue, in which any limitations upon personal behavior are experienced as infringements of basic rights. Distinctions between the important and the trivial, between the freedom to criticize received ideas and the freedom to take LSD, are precisely the standards that keep societies from barbarism.

So the legalization of drugs cannot be supported by philosophical principle. But if the pragmatic argument in favor of legalization were strong enough, it might overwhelm other objections. It is upon this argument that proponents of legalization rest the larger part of their case.

The argument is that the overwhelming majority of the harm done to society by the consumption of currently illicit drugs is caused not by their pharmacological properties but by their prohibition and the resultant criminal activity that prohibition always calls into being. Simple reflection tells us that a supply invariably grows up to meet a demand; and when the demand is widespread, suppression is useless. Indeed, it is harmful, since—by raising the price of the commodity in question—it raises the profits of middlemen, which gives them an even more powerful incentive to stimulate demand further. The vast profits to be made from cocaine and heroin—which, were it not for their illegality, would be cheap and easily affordable even by the poorest in affluent societies—exert a deeply corrupting effect on producers, distributors, consumers, and law enforcers alike. Besides, it is well known that illegality in itself has attractions for youth already inclined to disaffection. Even many of the harmful physical effects of illicit drugs stem from their illegal status: for example, fluctuations in the purity of heroin bought on the street are responsible for many of the deaths by overdose. If the sale and consumption of such drugs were legalized, consumers would know how much they were taking and thus avoid overdoses.

Moreover, since society already permits the use of some mind-altering substances known to be both addictive and harmful, such as alcohol and nicotine, in prohibiting others it appears hypocritical, arbitrary, and dictatorial. Its hypocrisy, as well as its patent failure to enforce its prohibitions successfully, leads inevitably to a decline in respect for the law as a whole. Thus things fall apart, and the center cannot hold.

It stands to reason, therefore, that all these problems would be resolved at a stroke if everyone were permitted to smoke, swallow, or inject anything he chose. The corruption of the police, the luring of children of 11 and 12 into illegal activities, the making of such vast sums of money by drug dealing that legitimate work seems pointless and silly by comparison, and the turf wars that make poor neighborhoods so exceedingly violent and dangerous, would all cease at once were drug taking to be decriminalized and the supply regulated in the same way as alcohol.

But a certain modesty in the face of an inherently unknowable future is surely advisable. That is why prudence is a political virtue: what stands to reason should happen does not necessarily happen in practice. As Goethe said, all theory (even of the monetarist or free-market variety) is gray, but green springs the golden tree of life. If drugs were legalized, I suspect that the golden tree of life might spring some unpleasant surprises.

It is of course true, but only trivially so, that the present illegality of drugs is the cause of the criminality surrounding their distribution. Likewise, it is the illegality of stealing cars that creates car thieves. In fact, the ultimate cause of all criminality is law. As far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that law should therefore be abandoned. Moreover, the impossibility of winning the “war” against theft, burglary, robbery, and fraud has never been used as an argument that these categories of crime should be abandoned. And so long as the demand for material goods outstrips supply, people will be tempted to commit criminal acts against the owners of property. This is not an argument, in my view, against private property or in favor of the common ownership of all goods. It does suggest, however, that we shall need a police force for a long time to come.

In any case, there are reasons to doubt whether the crime rate would fall quite as dramatically as advocates of legalization have suggested. Amsterdam, where access to drugs is relatively unproblematic, is among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe. The idea behind crime—of getting rich, or at least richer, quickly and without much effort—is unlikely to disappear once drugs are freely available to all who want them. And it may be that officially sanctioned antisocial behavior—the official lifting of taboos—breeds yet more antisocial behavior, as the “broken windows” theory would suggest.

Having met large numbers of drug dealers in prison, I doubt that they would return to respectable life if the principal article of their commerce were to be legalized. Far from evincing a desire to be reincorporated into the world of regular work, they express a deep contempt for it and regard those who accept the bargain of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay as cowards and fools. A life of crime has its attractions for many who would otherwise lead a mundane existence. So long as there is the possibility of a lucrative racket or illegal traffic, such people will find it and extend its scope. Therefore, since even legalizers would hesitate to allow children to take drugs, decriminalization might easily result in dealers turning their attentions to younger and younger children, who—in the permissive atmosphere that even now prevails—have already been inducted into the drug subculture in alarmingly high numbers.

Those who do not deal in drugs but commit crimes to fund their consumption of them are, of course, more numerous than large-scale dealers. And it is true that once opiate addicts, for example, enter a treatment program, which often includes maintenance doses of methadone, the rate at which they commit crimes falls markedly. The drug clinic in my hospital claims an 80 percent reduction in criminal convictions among heroin addicts once they have been stabilized on methadone.

This is impressive, but it is not certain that the results should be generalized. First, the patients are self-selected: they have some motivation to change, otherwise they would not have attended the clinic in the first place. Only a minority of addicts attend, and therefore it is not safe to conclude that, if other addicts were to receive methadone, their criminal activity would similarly diminish.

Second, a decline in convictions is not necessarily the same as a decline in criminal acts. If methadone stabilizes an addict’s life, he may become a more efficient, harder-to-catch criminal. Moreover, when the police in our city do catch an addict, they are less likely to prosecute him if he can prove that he is undergoing anything remotely resembling psychiatric treatment. They return him directly to his doctor. Having once had a psychiatric consultation is an all-purpose alibi for a robber or a burglar; the police, who do not want to fill in the 40-plus forms it now takes to charge anyone with anything in England, consider a single contact with a psychiatrist sufficient to deprive anyone of legal responsibility for crime forever.

Third, the rate of criminal activity among those drug addicts who receive methadone from the clinic, though reduced, remains very high. The deputy director of the clinic estimates that the number of criminal acts committed by his average patient (as judged by self-report) was 250 per year before entering treatment and 50 afterward. It may well be that the real difference is considerably less than this, because the patients have an incentive to exaggerate it to secure the continuation of their methadone. But clearly, opiate addicts who receive their drugs legally and free of charge continue to commit large numbers of crimes. In my clinics in prison, I see numerous prisoners who were on methadone when they committed the crime for which they are incarcerated.

Why do addicts given their drug free of charge continue to commit crimes? Some addicts, of course, continue to take drugs other than those prescribed and have to fund their consumption of them. So long as any restriction whatever regulates the consumption of drugs, many addicts will seek them illicitly, regardless of what they receive legally. In addition, the drugs themselves exert a long-term effect on a person’s ability to earn a living and severely limit rather than expand his horizons and mental repertoire. They sap the will or the ability of an addict to make long-term plans. While drugs are the focus of an addict’s life, they are not all he needs to live, and many addicts thus continue to procure the rest of what they need by criminal means.

For the proposed legalization of drugs to have its much vaunted beneficial effect on the rate of criminality, such drugs would have to be both cheap and readily available. The legalizers assume that there is a natural limit to the demand for these drugs, and that if their consumption were legalized, the demand would not increase substantially. Those psychologically unstable persons currently taking drugs would continue to do so, with the necessity to commit crimes removed, while psychologically stabler people (such as you and I and our children) would not be enticed to take drugs by their new legal status and cheapness. But price and availability, I need hardly say, exert a profound effect on consumption: the cheaper alcohol becomes, for example, the more of it is consumed, at least within quite wide limits.

I have personal experience of this effect. I once worked as a doctor on a British government aid project to Africa. We were building a road through remote African bush. The contract stipulated that the construction company could import, free of all taxes, alcoholic drinks from the United Kingdom. These drinks the company then sold to its British workers at cost, in the local currency at the official exchange rate, which was approximately one-sixth the black-market rate. A liter bottle of gin thus cost less than a dollar and could be sold on the open market for almost ten dollars. So it was theoretically possible to remain dead drunk for several years for an initial outlay of less than a dollar.

Of course, the necessity to go to work somewhat limited the workers’ consumption of alcohol. Nevertheless, drunkenness among them far outstripped anything I have ever seen, before or since. I discovered that, when alcohol is effectively free of charge, a fifth of British construction workers will regularly go to bed so drunk that they are incontinent both of urine and feces. I remember one man who very rarely got as far as his bed at night: he fell asleep in the lavatory, where he was usually found the next morning. Half the men shook in the mornings and resorted to the hair of the dog to steady their hands before they drove their bulldozers and other heavy machines (which they frequently wrecked, at enormous expense to the British taxpayer); hangovers were universal. The men were either drunk or hung over for months on end.

Sure, construction workers are notoriously liable to drink heavily, but in these circumstances even formerly moderate drinkers turned alcoholic and eventually suffered from delirium tremens. The heavy drinking occurred not because of the isolation of the African bush: not only did the company provide sports facilities for its workers, but there were many other ways to occupy oneself there. Other groups of workers in the bush whom I visited, who did not have the same rights of importation of alcoholic drink but had to purchase it at normal prices, were not nearly as drunk. And when the company asked its workers what it could do to improve their conditions, they unanimously asked for a further reduction in the price of alcohol, because they could think of nothing else to ask for.

The conclusion was inescapable: that a susceptible population had responded to the low price of alcohol, and the lack of other effective restraints upon its consumption, by drinking destructively large quantities of it. The health of many men suffered as a consequence, as did their capacity for work; and they gained a well-deserved local reputation for reprehensible, violent, antisocial behavior.

It is therefore perfectly possible that the demand for drugs, including opiates, would rise dramatically were their price to fall and their availability to increase. And if it is true that the consumption of these drugs in itself predisposes to criminal behavior (as data from our clinic suggest), it is also possible that the effect on the rate of criminality of this rise in consumption would swamp the decrease that resulted from decriminalization. We would have just as much crime in aggregate as before, but many more addicts.

The intermediate position on drug legalization, such as that espoused by Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy research institute sponsored by financier George Soros, is emphatically not the answer to drug-related crime. This view holds that it should be easy for addicts to receive opiate drugs from doctors, either free or at cost, and that they should receive them in municipal injecting rooms, such as now exist in Zurich. But just look at Liverpool, where 2,000 people of a population of 600,000 receive official prescriptions for methadone: this once proud and prosperous city is still the world capital of drug-motivated burglary, according to the police and independent researchers.

Of course, many addicts in Liverpool are not yet on methadone, because the clinics are insufficient in number to deal with the demand. If the city expended more money on clinics, perhaps the number of addicts in treatment could be increased five- or tenfold. But would that solve the problem of burglary in Liverpool? No, because the profits to be made from selling illicit opiates would still be large: dealers would therefore make efforts to expand into parts of the population hitherto relatively untouched, in order to protect their profits. The new addicts would still burgle to feed their habits. Yet more clinics dispensing yet more methadone would then be needed. In fact Britain, which has had a relatively liberal approach to the prescribing of opiate drugs to addicts since 1928 (I myself have prescribed heroin to addicts), has seen an explosive increase in addiction to opiates and all the evils associated with it since the 1960s, despite that liberal policy. A few hundred have become more than a hundred thousand.

At the heart of Nadelmann’s position, then, is an evasion. The legal and liberal provision of drugs for people who are already addicted to them will not reduce the economic benefits to dealers of pushing these drugs, at least until the entire susceptible population is addicted and in a treatment program. So long as there are addicts who have to resort to the black market for their drugs, there will be drug-associated crime. Nadelmann assumes that the number of potential addicts wouldn’t soar under considerably more liberal drug laws. I can’t muster such Panglossian optimism.

The problem of reducing the amount of crime committed by individual addicts is emphatically not the same as the problem of reducing the amount of crime committed by addicts as a whole. I can illustrate what I mean by an analogy: it is often claimed that prison does not work because many prisoners are recidivists who, by definition, failed to be deterred from further wrongdoing by their last prison sentence. But does any sensible person believe that the abolition of prisons in their entirety would not reduce the numbers of the law-abiding? The murder rate in New York and the rate of drunken driving in Britain have not been reduced by a sudden upsurge in the love of humanity, but by the effective threat of punishment. An institution such as prison can work for society even if it does not work for an individual.

The situation could be very much worse than I have suggested hitherto, however, if we legalized the consumption of drugs other than opiates. So far, I have considered only opiates, which exert a generally tranquilizing effect. If opiate addicts commit crimes even when they receive their drugs free of charge, it is because they are unable to meet their other needs any other way; but there are, unfortunately, drugs whose consumption directly leads to violence because of their psychopharmacological properties and not merely because of the criminality associated with their distribution. Stimulant drugs such as crack cocaine provoke paranoia, increase aggression, and promote violence. Much of this violence takes place in the home, as the relatives of crack takers will testify. It is something I know from personal acquaintance by working in the emergency room and in the wards of our hospital. Only someone who has not been assaulted by drug takers rendered psychotic by their drug could view with equanimity the prospect of the further spread of the abuse of stimulants.

And no one should underestimate the possibility that the use of stimulant drugs could spread very much wider, and become far more general, than it is now, if restraints on their use were relaxed. The importation of the mildly stimulant khat is legal in Britain, and a large proportion of the community of Somali refugees there devotes its entire life to chewing the leaves that contain the stimulant, miring these refugees in far worse poverty than they would otherwise experience. The reason that the khat habit has not spread to the rest of the population is that it takes an entire day’s chewing of disgustingly bitter leaves to gain the comparatively mild pharmacological effect. The point is, however, that once the use of a stimulant becomes culturally acceptable and normal, it can easily become so general as to exert devastating social effects. And the kinds of stimulants on offer in Western cities—cocaine, crack, amphetamines—are vastly more attractive than khat.

In claiming that prohibition, not the drugs themselves, is the problem, Nadelmann and many others—even policemen—have said that “the war on drugs is lost.” But to demand a yes or no answer to the question “Is the war against drugs being won?” is like demanding a yes or no answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Never can an unimaginative and fundamentally stupid metaphor have exerted a more baleful effect upon proper thought.

Let us ask whether medicine is winning the war against death. The answer is obviously no, it isn’t winning: the one fundamental rule of human existence remains, unfortunately, one man one death. And this is despite the fact that 14 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States (to say nothing of the efforts of other countries) goes into the fight against death. Was ever a war more expensively lost? Let us then abolish medical schools, hospitals, and departments of public health. If every man has to die, it doesn’t matter very much when he does so.

If the war against drugs is lost, then so are the wars against theft, speeding, incest, fraud, rape, murder, arson, and illegal parking. Few, if any, such wars are winnable. So let us all do anything we choose.

Even the legalizers’ argument that permitting the purchase and use of drugs as freely as Milton Friedman suggests will necessarily result in less governmental and other official interference in our lives doesn’t stand up. To the contrary, if the use of narcotics and stimulants were to become virtually universal, as is by no means impossible, the number of situations in which compulsory checks upon people would have to be carried out, for reasons of public safety, would increase enormously. Pharmacies, banks, schools, hospitals—indeed, all organizations dealing with the public—might feel obliged to check regularly and randomly on the drug consumption of their employees. The general use of such drugs would increase the locus standi of innumerable agencies, public and private, to interfere in our lives; and freedom from interference, far from having increased, would have drastically shrunk.

The present situation is bad, undoubtedly; but few are the situations so bad that they cannot be made worse by a wrong policy decision.

The extreme intellectual elegance of the proposal to legalize the distribution and consumption of drugs, touted as the solution to so many problems at once (AIDS, crime, overcrowding in the prisons, and even the attractiveness of drugs to foolish young people) should give rise to skepticism. Social problems are not usually like that. Analogies with the Prohibition era, often drawn by those who would legalize drugs, are false and inexact: it is one thing to attempt to ban a substance that has been in customary use for centuries by at least nine-tenths of the adult population, and quite another to retain a ban on substances that are still not in customary use, in an attempt to ensure that they never do become customary. Surely we have already slid down enough slippery slopes in the last 30 years without looking for more such slopes to slide down.
https://www.city-journal.org/html/don%E2%80%99t-legalize-drugs-11758.html

Cannabis Referendum: Bob McCoskrie v Helen Clark (ABC Sydney Radio)

10 September 2019
ABC Radio Sydney’s Breakfast programme featured an interview with Helen Clark who is promoting a Yes vote in the Cannabis legalisation referendum, and also with Bob McCoskrie from Family First (Say Nope To Dope campaign).

Hear the two interviews

Helen Clark

Bob McCoskrie

Bob McCoskrie: The case for no in the cannabis referendum

NZ Herald 11 September 2019
(In response to the promotion of cannabis legalisation by the Helen Clark Foundation)
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=12266464

The evidence is quickly building.

Marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana, a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

Drug supporters argue that marijuana legalisation will increase social justice. But the District of Columbia, Colorado and Washington D.C. have seen disproportionately high  public consumption and distribution arrests amongst African-Americans and Hispanics.

This is because, in a similar trend to alcohol outlets and pokie machine venues here in New Zealand, communities of colour and high deprivation areas in Los Angeles, Denver and Oregon are being subjected to disproportionate targeting by marijuana facilities.

If you want to know how Big Marijuana will act, just look to the gambling, tobacco and alcohol industry’s behaviour.

Another argument for legalisation is that the ‘war on drugs’ has been lost.

The now-retired UK prison doctor and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple says that the ‘war on drugs is lost’ mantra is an unimaginative and fundamentally stupid metaphor – “If the war against drugs is lost, then so are the wars against theft, speeding, incest, fraud, rape, murder, arson, and illegal parking.  Few, if any, such wars are winnable.”

This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – it is a defence of our brains. It is a fight for health and safety.

Drug advocates want you to believe that ‘everybody is doing it’. But Ministry of Health statistics show that just 3.7% use cannabis on a weekly basis, 11% have used it in the last 12 months, and 42% will have tried it once at some time in their life.

There is no adequate reason why governments can persistently and successfully target smoking and not do likewise with drugs. The end goal of the anti-smoking campaign has not been ‘slow down’ or ‘moderate’ but ‘quit’, with numerous strategies and support agencies assisting on the journey. The numbers overwhelmingly suggest that it is working.

What’s also amusing is attempts by cannabis advocates to find a country that has had good outcomes from the experiment of legalising.

In Colorado, marijuana-positive traffic fatalities, hospitalisations, marijuana use, and illegal market activity have all increased. Most disturbingly, Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased.

Portugal is often referred to – but they didn’t legalise marijuana. They decriminalised all drugs. However, between 2012 and 2017, Lifetime Prevalence statistics for alcohol, tobacco and drugs have risen by 23%. Political parties in Portugal are now pushing for the legalisation of marijuana in their country because they wrongly believe it will combat current problems around organised crime, drug trafficking, increased consumption and the use of psychoactive substances.

Others are pointing to Uruguay which is attempting to regulate the marijuana market under state control, despite strong public opposition. The data so far indicates that frequency of consumption has significantly increased, especially in the 15-24 age group. The perception of risk with drug use is low, and risky behaviours have increased with the frequency of consumption, including the use of marijuana during pregnancy. The black market is alive and well. 

And the recent Canadian federal study found a 27% increase in marijuana use among people aged 15 to 24 over the last year. Another study found that the black market in Canada is absolutely thriving.

I visited Vancouver six weeks ago. Cannabis is easy to purchase – including the products like gummi bear edibles, which aren’t supposed to even be legal yet. You can see Big Marijuana already. You can smell it.

It’s important to note that the Global Commission on Drug Policy – of which Helen Clark is a member – wants to legalise all drug use, and wants policies based on ‘human rights’ which remove the ‘stigmatisation’ and ‘marginalisation’ of people who use drugs.

Drug users should receive all the help they can to overcome their addiction and to become drug-free, but the health, rights and protection of the general public should take precedence over the rights of individuals to live in a drug-friendly society. 

We were sucked in by Big Tobacco.

Let’s not be sucked in again.

9 Florida students hospitalised after eating THC-laced candy

CBS News 9 September 2019
Family First Comment: Ages 10-12!!
“A student “inadvertently” brought in THC-laced candy in a package similar to a popular sour candy and shared it with their friends.”

Authorities say nine students from a Florida charter school ate marijuana-infused candy and were hospitalized with stomach pains.

CBS Miami reports that seven boys and two girls between the ages of 10 and 12 from Renaissance Charter School at Cooper City were expected to be released Friday.

A statement from school spokesperson Colleen Reynolds says a student “inadvertently” brought in THC-laced candy in a package similar to a popular sour candy and shared it with their friends. Reynolds says EMS and law enforcement were immediately contacted.

Broward County Sheriff’s spokesman and Battalion Chief Michael Kane says the students had abdominal pain after consuming the candies. He said their injuries weren’t life-threatening.

Kane added that the THC-laced candy was packaged just like a commercially packaged candy.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Donald Prichard said no criminal charges were filed Friday, but the investigation is ongoing.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cooper-city-florida-9-students-hospitalized-thc-laced-candy-renaissance-charter-school/
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Researchers working on a breathalyser for weed

NZ Herald 9 September 2019
Family First Comment: Good development..
“A prototype device can tell if someone’s high on marijuana and could soon be changing the way law enforcement officers deal with weed intoxication.”
We may need it even more in NZ 💨💨

A prototype device can tell if someone’s high on marijuana and could soon be changing the way law enforcement officers deal with weed intoxication.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the US have unveiled a device that looks much like the standard breathalyser but can measure levels of THC, which is the dominant psychoactive compound in weed.

Tests for levels of marijuana are currently done using either blood, urine or hair samples.

The new device uses carbon nanotubes to bind the THC molecules and detect the compound through a person’s breath.

“The semiconductor carbon nanotubes that we are using weren’t available even a few years ago,” says lead author Sean Hwang.

“We used machine learning to ‘teach’ the breathalyser to recognise the presence of THB based on the electrical currents’ recovery time, even when there are other substances, like alcohol, present in the breath.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12266223&ref=twitter  (behind paywall)

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U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, 29 August 2019

I, Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our Nation from the health risks of marijuana use in adolescence and during pregnancy. Recent increases in access to marijuana and in its potency, along with misperceptions of safety of marijuana endanger our most precious resource, our nation’s youth.

KNOW THE RISKS. TAKE ACTION. PROTECT OUR FUTURE.

Background

Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It acts by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including euphoria, intoxication, and memory and motor impairments. These same cannabinoid receptors are also critical for brain development. They are part of the endocannabinoid system, which impacts the formation of brain circuits important for decision making, mood and responding to stress1.

Marijuana and its related products are widely available in multiple forms. These products can be eaten, drunk, smoked, and vaped2. Marijuana contains varying levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component responsible for euphoria and intoxication, and cannabidiol (CBD). While CBD is not intoxicating and does not lead to addiction, its long-term effects are largely unknown, and most CBD products are untested and of uncertain purity3.

Marijuana has changed over time. The marijuana available today is much stronger than previous versions. The THC concentration in commonly cultivated marijuana plants has increased three-fold between 1995 and 2014 (4% and 12% respectively)4. Marijuana available in dispensaries in some states has average concentrations of THC between 17.7% and 23.2%5. Concentrated products, commonly known as dabs or waxes, are far more widely available to recreational users today and may contain between 23.7% and 75.9% THC6.

The risks of physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC7 and the younger the age of initiation. Higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis8. Edible marijuana takes time to absorb and to produce its effects, increasing the risk of unintentional overdose, as well as accidental ingestion by children9 and adolescents10. In addition, chronic users of marijuana with a high THC content are at risk for developing a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is marked by severe cycles of nausea and vomiting11.

This advisory is intended to raise awareness of the known and potential harms to developing brains, posed by the increasing availability of highly potent marijuana in multiple, concentrated forms. These harms are costly to individuals and to our society, impacting mental health and educational achievement and raising the risks of addiction and misuse of other substances.  Additionally, marijuana use remains illegal for youth under state law in all states; normalization of its use raises the potential for criminal consequences in this population. In addition to the health risks posed by marijuana use, sale or possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law notwithstanding some state laws to the contrary.

Marijuana Use during Pregnancy

Pregnant women use marijuana more than any other illicit drug. In a national survey, marijuana use in the past month among pregnant women doubled (3.4% to 7%) between 2002 and 201712. In a study conducted in a large health system, marijuana use rose by 69% (4.2% to 7.1%) between 2009 and 2016 among pregnant women13. Alarmingly, many retail dispensaries recommend marijuana to pregnant women for morning sickness14.

Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect the developing fetus. THC can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream and may disrupt the endocannabinoid system, which is important for a healthy pregnancy and fetal brain development1. Moreover, studies have shown that marijuana use in pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes, including lower birth weight15. The Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System reported that maternal marijuana use was associated with a 50% increased risk of low birth weight regardless of maternal age, race, ethnicity, education, and tobacco use16.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists holds that “[w]omen who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use. Women reporting marijuana use should be counseled about concerns regarding potential adverse health consequences of continued use during pregnancy”17. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that “…it is important to advise all adolescents and young women that if they become pregnant, marijuana should not be used during pregnancy”18.

Maternal marijuana use may still be dangerous to the baby after birth. THC has been found in breast milk for up to six days after the last recorded use. It may affect the newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences192021. Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke22. No one should smoke marijuana or tobacco around a baby.

Marijuana Use during Adolescence

Marijuana is also commonly used by adolescents4, second only to alcohol. In 2017, approximately 9.2 million youth aged 12 to 25 reported marijuana use in the past month and 29% more young adults aged 18-25 started using marijuana23. In addition, high school students’ perception of the harm from regular marijuana use has been steadily declining over the last decade24. During this same period, a number of states have legalized adult use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, while it remains illegal under federal law. The legalization movement may be impacting youth perception of harm from marijuana.

The human brain continues to develop from before birth into the mid-20s and is vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances2526. Frequent marijuana use during adolescence is associated with changes in the areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation. Deficits in attention and memory have been detected in marijuana-using teens even after a month of abstinence27. Marijuana can also impair learning in adolescents. Chronic use is linked to declines in IQ, school performance that jeopardizes professional and social achievements, and life satisfaction28. Regular use of marijuana in adolescence is linked to increased rates of school absence and drop-out, as well as suicide attempts29.

Marijuana use is also linked to risk for and early onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with frequency of use, potency of the marijuana product, and as the age at first use decreases30.  Adolescent marijuana use is often also associated with other substance use3132. In 2017, teens 12-17 reporting frequent use of marijuana showed a 130% greater likelihood of misusing opioids23. Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability in multiple and highly potent forms, coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to action.

You Can Take Action

No amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe. Until and unless more is known about the long-term impact, the safest choice for pregnant women and adolescents is not to use marijuana.  Pregnant women and youth–and those who love them–need the facts and resources to support healthy decisions. It is critical to educate women and youth, as well as family members, school officials, state and local leaders, and health professionals, about the risks of marijuana, particularly as more states contemplate legalization.

Science-based messaging campaigns and targeted prevention programming are urgently needed to ensure that risks are clearly communicated and amplified by local, state, and national organizations. Clinicians can help by asking about marijuana use, informing mothers-to-be, new mothers, young people, and those vulnerable to psychotic disorders, of the risks. Clinicians can also prescribe safe, effective, and FDA-approved treatments for nausea, depression, and pain during pregnancy. Further research is needed to understand all the impacts of THC on the developing brain, but we know enough now to warrant concern and action. Everyone has a role in protecting our young people from the risks of marijuana.

Information for Parents and Parents-to-be

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for Youth:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for States, Communities, Tribes, and Territories:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Information for Health Professionals:

You have an important role to play for a healthy next generation.

Footnotes

  • 1. a. b. Brents L. K. (2016). Marijuana, the Endocannabinoid System and the Female Reproductive System. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 89(2), 175–191.
  • 2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Public Health: How is marijuana used? https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs/how-is-marijuana-used.html.
  • 3. Bonn-Miller M.O., Loflin M.J.E., Thomas B.F, et al. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909.
  • 4. Elsohly, M. A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S. (2016). Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States. Biological Psychiatry, 79(7), 613-619. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.01.004.
  • 5. Jikomes, N., & Zoorob, M. (2018). The Cannabinoid Content of Legal Cannabis in Washington State Varies Systematically Across Testing Facilities and Popular Consumer Products. Scientific reports, 8(1), 4519. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22755-2
  • 6. Alzghari, S. K., Fung, V., Rickner, S. S., Chacko, L., & Fleming, S. W. (2017). To Dab or Not to Dab: Rising Concerns Regarding the Toxicity of Cannabis Concentrates. Cureus, 9(9), e1676. doi:10.7759/cureus.1676.
  • 7. Freeman, T. P., & Winstock, A. R. (2015). Examining the profile of high-potency cannabis and its association with severity of cannabis dependence. Psychological medicine, 45(15), 3181–3189. doi:10.1017/S0033291715001178
  • 8. Volkow N.D., Baler R.D., Compton W.M., Weiss S.R.B. Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use N Engl J Med. 2014 June 5; 370(23): 2219–2227. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1402309.
  • 9. Richards, J.R., Smith N.E., Moulin, A.K. Unintentional Cannabis Ingestion in Children: A Systematic Review. J Pediatr 2017; 190:142-52.
  • 10. Cao, D., Sahaphume, S., Bronstein, A.C., Hoyte, C.O., Characterization of edible marijuana product exposures reported to the United States poison centers. Clinical Toxicology, 54:9, 840-846, DOI: 10.1080/15563650.2016.1209761
  • 11. Galli, J.A., Sawaya, R.A., Friedenberg, F.K. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011 Dec; 4(4): 241–249.
  • 12. Volkow N.D., Han B., Compton W.M., McCance-Katz E.F. Self-reported Medical and Non-medical Cannabis Use Among Pregnant Women in the United States. JAMA. 2019 doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7982
  • 13. Young-Wolff KC, Tucker L, Alexeeff S, et al. Trends in Self-reported and Biochemically Tested Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Females in California From 2009-2016. JAMA. 2017;318(24):2490–2491. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17225.
  • 14. Dickson, B. (2018). Recommendations From Cannabis Dispensaries About First-Trimester Cannabis Use. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; 0029-7844. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002619.
  • 15. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • 16. Crume et al: Cannabis use during the perinatal period in a state with legalized recreational and medical marijuana: the association between maternal characteristics, breastfeeding patterns, and neonatal outcomes. J Pediatr. 2018;197:90-96.
  • 17. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Marijuana use during pregnancy and lactation. Committee Opinion No. 722. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130(4):e205-e209.
  • 18. Ryan et al: Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding: implications for neonatal and childhood outcomes. Pediatrics. 2018; 142(3):,e20181889.
  • 19. Bertrand, K. A., Hanan, N. J., Honerkamp-Smith, G., Best, B. M., & Chambers, C. D. (2018). Marijuana Use by Breastfeeding Mothers and Cannabinoid Concentrations in Breast Milk. Pediatrics, 142(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1076.
  • 20. Metz TD, Stickrath EH: Marijuana use in pregnancy and lactation: a review of the evidence. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015;213(6):761-778.
  • 21. Effects while pregnant or breastfeeding. (2017, March 02). Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/marijuana/effects-while-pregnant-or-breastfeeding.
  • 22. Moir, D., et al., A comparison of mainstream and sidestream marijuana and tobacco cigarette smoke produced under two machine smoking conditions. Chem Res Toxicol 21: 494-502. (2008).
  • 23. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • 24. Johnston, L. D., Miech, R. A., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2019). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2018: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, 119 pp.
  • 25. Pujol, J., Vendrell, P., Junqué, C., Martí-Vilalta, J. L., & Capdevila, A. (1993). When does human brain development end? Evidence of corpus callosum growth up to adulthood. Annals of Neurology, 34(1), 71-75. doi:10.1002/ana.410340113.
  • 26. Levine, A., Clemenza, K., Rynn, M., & Lieberman, J. (2017). Evidence for the Risks and Consequences of Adolescent Cannabis Exposure. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(3), 214-225. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2016.12.014.
  • 27. Meruelo AD, Castro N, Cota CI, Tapert SF. Cannabis and alcohol use, and the developing brain. Behav Brain Res. 2017;325(Pt A):44–50. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.02.025.
  • 28. Meier M.H., Caspi A., Ambler A., et. al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA., 2012. Oct 2; 109(40) E2657-64 doi 10.1073/pnas. 1206820109. Epub 2012 Aug 27
  • 29. Silins, E., Horwood, L. J., & Patton, G. C. (2014). Young adult sequelae of adolescent cannabis use: An integrative analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(4), 286-293. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(14)70307-4.
  • 30. Di Forti, M., Quattrone, D., & Freeman, T. (2019). The contribution of cannabis use to variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across Europe (EU-GEI): A multicenter case-control study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(5), 427-436. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30048-3.
  • 31. Lopez-Quintero C., Perez de los Cabos J., Hasin D.S. (2011). Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug Alcohol Dependence. 115(1-2):120-130.
  • 32. Jones, C. M., & McCance-Katz, E.F. (2019). Relationship Between Recency and Frequency of Youth Cannabis Use on Other Substance Use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64(3), 411-413. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.09.017.
    https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/addiction-and-substance-misuse/advisory-on-marijuana-use-and-developing-brain/index.html

 

Colorado Doctor Sounds Alarm on Marijuana Legalization

The Washington Free Beacon 6 September 2019
Family First Comment: The glittering image of post-legalization Colorado—with billions in tax revenue and a happy populace—runs up against the uncomfortable reality of poor regulation and patients dangerously misguided about the risks and benefits of marijuana use. “There are a whole host of us who are speaking out about it, and people need to start listening and looking to the future,” Randall said. “This is going to be a crisis with potential long-term consequences that will far outpace the opioid crisis, with lasting damages and lasting injuries, as well as a significant cost to the public.”

Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization has been an epic disaster, according to one doctor seeing its effects on the front lines.

Dr. Karen Randall, an emergency room physician certified in “cannabis science and medicine,” said the legalization of marijuana has damaged, rather than helped, her home state. Randall, who spoke alongside former White House drug czar John Walters at the right-leaning Hudson Institute on Friday, said the public is being misled about the effects of recreational marijuana.

“I think the public needs to know that we are not okay,” Randall said. “The grand experiment is not going so well. I don’t think the public is hearing about this as they should be.”

In 2012, Colorado and Washington become the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Centennial State is often pointed to as a success story with more than $1 billion in tax revenues generated since legalization. Eight more states followed in approving recreational use.

While the country has plowed ahead with marijuana legalization, less attention has been paid to potential downsides of the weed market. Randall said legalization has brought with it high-potency dope: The average joint in Colorado, she says, now contains 20 milligrams of THC, 10 times as much as the average joint at Woodstock. Concentrated products, sometimes called “shatter,” can be up to 99 percent THC.

“My fellow physicians don’t understand, they don’t understand the potency that we’re dealing with in Colorado at this point,” Randall said. “The potency has dramatically increased.”
READ MORE: https://freebeacon.com/issues/colorado-doctor-sounds-alarm-on-marijuana-legalization/

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Helen Clark backs letting ex-criminals sell cannabis legally

NewsHub 7 September 2019
Family First Comment: “Helen Clark has no problem with gangs and others growing cannabis illegally getting licences, should it become legal. ‘They’ve got the experience of growing it.’”
They have other experience also. Intimidation. Laundering. Deferring funds to illegal activities. Violence….
#saynopetodope

Helen Clark has no problem with gangs and others growing cannabis illegally getting licences, should it become legal.

“They’ve got the experience of growing it,” the former Prime Minister told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

“If you’re moving to a legal market, why would you exclude the people who have traditionally been growing?”

Clark’s foundation earlier this week came out in support of legalising the popular drug, and treating it as a health issue rather than a criminal one. Next year Kiwis will be asked for their views in a referendum.

“The referendum is not about whether or not people should use it; it’s recognising the reality that it’s there now,” said Clark.

“We could put some rules around it or we continue to have it as a complete free-for-all with no rules at all. So that’s why I came down for rules.”

She says New Zealand’s well-placed to quickly and painlessly convert the black market thanks to existing rules around tobacco, which she helped write.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/09/helen-clark-backs-letting-ex-criminals-sell-cannabis-legally.html
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The Case For NO In The 2020 Referendum on Cannabis

Media Release 4 Sep 2019
In response to the promotion of cannabis legalisation by Helen Clark, Family First is continuing to promote its 24-page BRIEFING FOR FAMILIES which has been distributed widely throughout NZ.

Topics covered in the Briefing include:

  • why is the referendum much more than just being able to ‘smoke a joint’?
  • the problems with statements like “the war on drugs has failed” and “it’s a health issue, not a legal issue”
  • what effect will legalisation have in the workplace, on road safety, with pregnant mums and young people, on family violence & child abuse, and will it really get rid of the ‘black market’ and gang involvement?
  • is growing marijuana ‘green’?
  • what’s the next step in this whole agenda?

DOWNLOAD our 24-page Briefing for Families. Click HERE for 1-page Briefing Sheets on specific issues.

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

New statistics, collected by the Ministry of Health, show that in 2008 only 192 people were hospitalised with a primary cannabis diagnosis, but by 2018 this had increased by 160% to over 500. Almost 6,000 people over 10 years have been hospitalised. Those suffering from a psychotic disorder due to cannabis (the most common diagnosis) increased from 90 to 226 over the same time period – an increase of 150%. Earlier Ministry of Health figures gained under the Official Information Act show that 73 children (0 – 14 years) have been hospitalised in the past five years either for poisoning or for mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of cannabis.

“At the same time as we are rightly booting Big Tobacco out of the country, why are we in the process of putting down the welcome mat for Big Marijuana. The supporters of dope are now peddling the same myths that Big Tobacco did. Let’s not be sucked in again,” says Bob McCoskrie from Family First NZ.

It is also important to note that the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) which Helen Clark is part of wants to legalise all drug use, and wants policies based on ‘human rights’ and which remove the ‘stigmatisation’ and ‘marginalisation’ of people who use drugs. (READ MORE)

“This upcoming debate is not about cannabis medicine. It’s about creating a drug-friendly culture. And not just marijuana: ultimately, it’s about all drugs.”

“This Briefing For Families will give families the facts, and will help them campaign with us against any attempts to legalise marijuana in New Zealand.”

“Big Marijuana has high hopes for New Zealand. Liberalising marijuana laws is the wrong path to go down if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people. This is not a war on drugs – it’s a defence of our brains. Drug use is a major health issue, and that’s why the role of the law is so important.”

“If we’re aiming to be SmokeFree by 2025, let’s be aspirational – and be DrugFree by 2025 also.”