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Bob McCoskrie

Petition Calls For Inquiry Into Cannabis & Violence

Media Release 13 May 2019 
A petition has been launched which is calling for an urgent Inquiry into the possible link between cannabis and violence. As calls for the legalisation of cannabis grow ever louder, and with the upcoming referendum on legalisation in 2020, the petition asks the government to first investigate the possible link between cannabis and violence.

“Over the past couple of decades, studies around the globe have found that THC – the active compound in cannabis – is strongly linked to psychosis, schizophrenia, and violence. A certain percentage of people who use marijuana can become psychotic and violent. It raises an important question – is our relatively higher use of cannabis compared to other countries related to our horrific record when it comes to child abuse and family violence?” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Researchers have studied alcohol and violence for generations, proving that alcohol is a risk factor for domestic abuse, assault and even murder. Far less work has been done on cannabis.”

The petition has already gained almost 1,400 signatures since launching over the weekend.

In 2018, researchers at Ohio and Tennessee Universities found that marijuana use was positively and significantly associated with psychological, physical, and sexual intimate partner violence, after controlling for alcohol use and problems, antisocial personality symptoms, and relationship satisfaction. The researchers say that treatment of men arrested for domestic violence should consider reducing their marijuana use.

A 2017 paper in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, examining drivers of violence among 6,000 British and Chinese men, found that drug use was linked to a fivefold increase in violence, and the drug used was nearly always cannabis.

Research published in 2016 in the journal Psychological Medicine concluded that continued use of cannabis causes violent behaviour as a direct result of changes in brain function that are caused by smoking weed over many years. The results showed that continued cannabis use is associated with 7-fold greater odds for subsequent commission of violent crimes.

A University of Florida study published in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence in 2011 found that frequent marijuana users in adolescence are twice as likely to engage in domestic violence as young adults.  The same study showed this group were more than twice as likely to become a victim of domestic violence. The researchers said “These findings have implications for intimate partner violence prevention efforts, as marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”

A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes. It found that most of the killers believed they were in danger from the victim, and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis – more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.

A 2002 study in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) found that people who used cannabis by age 15 were four times as likely to develop schizophrenia or a related syndrome as those who’d never used. Even when the researchers excluded children who had shown signs of psychosis by age 11, they found that the adolescent users had a threefold higher risk of demonstrating symptoms of schizophrenia later on. The study was based on the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study.

“Some evidence is already appearing in New Zealand. Last year (2018), a man who stalked several women during a 24-hour drug-induced psychosis has left one of his victims with “a lasting fear”. He lost his job after failing a drug test and then embarked on a four-day cannabis binge. The judge said that resulted in a psychosis. In 2017, a man repaid a family who had taken him in by stabbing the mother, a babysitter and their pet dog in a drug-induced rage. The judge said that his consumption of cannabis, which may have been laced unknowingly with methamphetamine, had caused him to attack.”

“Paranoia and psychosis can make some people dangerous, so a rising use of a drug that causes both would be expected to increase violent crime, rather than reduce it as drug advocates might claim.”

Of the four US states that legalised marijuana in 2014 and 2015 – Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado – there was a combined 35% increase in murders in those states from 2013 to 2017, compared with a 20% rise nationally. Washington became the first U.S. jurisdiction to legalise recreational marijuana in 2014. Between 2013 and 2017, the state’s aggravated-assault rate rose 17%, which was nearly twice the increase seen nationwide, and the murder rate rose 44%, which was more than twice the increase nationwide.

“Here in New Zealand, we know from a number of governmental reports (UNICEF reports in 2003 and 2007, a CYF report in 2006, and a Children’s Commissioner report in 2009) that one of the factors most commonly associated with the maltreatment of children is drug abuse.”

In March, Texas released its report on child abuse deaths, finding half the 172 child abuse deaths in 2017 coupled with substance abuse.  Marijuana was the most-used substance connected to child abuse and neglect deaths, followed by alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine. In one terrible case last year, Cynthia Randolph left her 1-year old and 2-year-old in the car while she smoked pot. Both children died.

In 2017, Arizona also published a report showing that marijuana was the substance most often linked to child abuse deaths in 2016.

People can sign the petition at www.CannabisInquiry.nz
ENDS

 

 

Denver votes to decriminalise magic mushrooms by razor-thin margin

BBC News 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: This is how wacky things are going to get…
“The UK’s National Health Service describes them as a hallucinogenic “making people see, hear and experience the world in a different, ‘trippy’ way”.”
Understatement of the year!

Denver has voted to decriminalise the use of magic mushrooms – the first US city to do so.

The motion was put to a public vote on Tuesday, and passed with a slim majority of 50.6%.

Although the mushrooms will technically still be illegal, restrictions on personal use and possession by adults will be drastically loosened.

Police officers will now be instructed to treat magic mushroom users as their lowest priority.

Denver decriminalised cannabis in 2005 ahead of the rest of the state of Colorado. Tuesday’s referendum was the first US public vote on magic mushrooms.

What are magic mushrooms?
They are a form of fungus found across the world which contains a psychedelic chemical called psilocybin.

The UK’s National Health Service describes them as a hallucinogenic “making people see, hear and experience the world in a different, ‘trippy’ way”.
READ MORE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48185366

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Suspended Nick Smith says Drug Driving Bill an urgent priority

Stuff co.nz 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: Dealing with the actual outcomes of drug liberalisation….
“In 2017, drivers under the influence of drugs were proven to have been involved in 79 fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, compared to 70 for those driving under the influence of alcohol.”

National MP Nick Smith says his party will continue to put pressure on the government to introduce random roadside drug testing.

The Nelson MP was suspended from the House yesterday when he made critical comments towards Speaker Trevor Mallard, after he sought leave to introduce a drug driving bill first put forward by MP Alastair Scott in September last year.

During question time in Parliament on Wednesday Smith had asked for the bill to be set down as the first members’ order of the day on May 22, but that was rejected by Mallard.

Smith said there was an urgent need to get the bill before a select committee, with drug-impaired road fatalities escalating in recent years.

“In the past five years that number has gone from 15 per year to 79, and last year for the first time it exceeded the number of deaths on the road from drunk driving.”

In 2017, drivers under the influence of drugs were proven to have been involved in 79 fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, compared to 70 for those driving under the influence of alcohol.

The bill proposed by Scott would allow police officers to undertake random roadside testing for THC, MDMA, and methamphetamine, similar to current legislation in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/112595240/suspended-nick-smith-says-drug-driving-bill-an-urgent-priority

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Where’s the pot? California tracking system unlikely to know

Radio NZ News 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: “As of last month, just nine retail outlets were entering data into the network established under an estimated $US60 million state contract, even though 627 shops are licensed to sell pot in California.”
So called ‘regulation’ fails! And not just in California.

When California voters broadly legalised marijuana, they were promised that a vast computer platform would closely monitor products moving through the new market. But 16 months after sales kicked in, the system known as track-and-trace isn’t doing much of either.

As of last month, just nine retail outlets were entering data into the network established under an estimated $US60 million state contract, even though 627 shops are licensed to sell pot in California.

The rate of participation is similarly slim for other sectors in the emerging industry.

Only 93 of more than 1000 licensed manufacturing companies producing extracts, oils and other products were documenting their activities in the network in April. And of the nearly 4000 licensed growers, only about 7 percent, or 254, are using the high-tech system, according to a review of state data.

How are state officials watching over the nation’s largest legal pot market ? For now, it’s essentially a paper trail.

Most California companies are required to document their business on paper sales invoices and shipping manifests. But experts say that can be a doorway for criminal traffic.

With paper records, regulators are relying on an honor system, said Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, which provides seed-to-sale cannabis tracking in eight states, including New York and Illinois.

Without a digital crumb trail in place, “there are so many areas where things can go wrong,” Mr Vo said. “Things can be intentionally altered.”
READ MORE: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/388855/where-s-the-pot-california-tracking-system-unlikely-to-know

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Support for legal cannabis slips in new poll

NewsHub 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: And will continue to slip 🙂

As the prospect of legal cannabis gets closer, Kiwis appear to be getting nervous.

A new poll has found the gap between support for legalisation and opposition is narrowing.

In a new poll conducted by Horizon, 52 percent of Kiwis said they’d vote in favour of legalisation in next year’s referendum, and 37 percent against.

When Horizon asked the exact same question six months ago, 60 percent were in favour and 24 percent against.

The poll was commissioned by medicinal cannabis company Helius Therapeutics. Chief executive Paul Manning said it might reflect the changing conversation around the popular drug.

“The commentary around cannabis has shifted in recent months. We’re now seeing some concerted scaremongering by conservative groups and others about cannabis being legalised for personal use.”

Whereas six months ago the airwaves were filled with talk about the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

“What we do know, after commissioning two large surveys on the topic, is that a majority of Kiwis continue to support legalising the personal use of cannabis,” said Manning. “There may have been a lot of political noise in recent days, but that statistical fact hasn’t changed in six months.”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/support-for-legal-cannabis-slips-in-new-poll.html

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Medical Association opposes cannabis legalisation!

Medical Association opposes cannabis legalisation but backs civil penalties for drug possession
NZ Herald 8 May 2019
Family First Comment: Who do you believe? Greens and Drug Foundation OR medical professionals? That’s easy. #VoteNo
“The NZMA, which represents doctors in all areas of medicine, said cannabis was a harmful drug which caused a range of health and social harms at both the individual and community level. It did not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and opposed legalisation.”

The body which represents the country’s doctors says it remains opposed to legalising cannabis after the Government outlined plans for a public referendum on the issue next year.

However, the New Zealand Medical Association said it was in favour of civil rather than criminal penalties for cannabis possession, saying it was consistent with goals to reduce harm related to the drug.

The NZMA, which represents doctors in all areas of medicine, said cannabis was a harmful drug which caused a range of health and social harms at both the individual and community level.

It did not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and opposed legalisation, its members said in a statement today. The Government’s announcements about a referendum on legalising cannabis in 2020 had not changed this position.

Chairwoman Kate Baddock said that in addition to physical harm, cannabis created social and psychological harm.

“We are disappointed that the Government is not showing leadership on a matter that has far-reaching effects for all New Zealanders.

“What we would like to see is the Government undertaking targeted initiatives to reduce the social inequalities that increase the risk of harm from drug use and meaningful investment into education and treatment programmes.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12228985

New Zealand Medical Association and Cannabis 2020 Referendum
NZ Doctor 8 May 2019 
Cannabis is a harmful drug that causes a range of health and social harms at the individual and community level. NZMA does not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purpose and opposes legalisation. This position has not changed with the government’s announcement yesterday (Tuesday 7 May) of a 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum.

NZMA strongly believes that cannabis use is a significant health and social issue. Furthermore, cannabis needs to be viewed in terms of social determinants and the social gradient where our most vulnerable people are at greater risk of drug harms.

“In addition to the physical harm caused by cannabis its use creates social and psychological harm, particularly for younger people” says Dr Kate Baddock Chair of the NZMA, “and we are disappointed that the government is not showing leadership on a matter that has far-reaching effects for all New Zealanders. “

“What we would like to see is the government undertaking targeted initiatives to reduce the social inequalities that increase the risk of harm from drug use and meaningful investment into education and treatment programmes. NZMA would also like to see a public education campaign to demonstrate that ‘soft’ or ‘recreational’ drugs, as any drug, can have serious and harmful effects.

“NZMA believes that it is consistent with a principle of harm reduction for the possession of cannabis for personal use to attract civil penalties such as court orders requiring counselling and education (particularly for young and first-time offenders), or attendance at ‘drug courts’ which divert users from the criminal justice system into treatment.”
https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/article/undoctored/new-zealand-medical-association-and-cannabis-2020-referendum
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Cannabis gummy bears could be banned under law reform

NewsHub 9 May 2019
Family First Comment: Far more to worry about than just gummi bears.
This shows just how naïve OR misleading the Greens are being around the real risks of cannabis products. 
#saynopetodope

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has brushed off National’s concerns around cannabis-infused edibles, suggesting most types will likely be banned.

National’s drug law reform spokesperson Paula Bennett said cannabis-infused edibles could be “dressed up so they’re appealing to young people and accidental use is of real concern”.

Swarbrick wouldn’t confirm cannabis-infused gummy bears would definitely be banned, but said there was consensus among the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First that protecting children and displacing the black market were top priorities.

“In line with all of those things, it’s pretty evident that we will be following what other jurisdictions have done in terms of banning or ensuring that we won’t have gummy bears.”

Swarbrick said there’s no way with the Government’s “health-based approach” to drug reform that “we would be enabling products that could be argued as targeted towards children”.

She said there will be “nothing to glorify the consumption of cannabis” – and actually, “quite the opposite because there will be public education campaigns about the harms”.

Swarbrick wouldn’t confirm cannabis-infused gummy bears would definitely be banned, but said there was consensus among the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First that protecting children and displacing the black market were top priorities.

“In line with all of those things, it’s pretty evident that we will be following what other jurisdictions have done in terms of banning or ensuring that we won’t have gummy bears.”

Swarbrick said there’s no way with the Government’s “health-based approach” to drug reform that “we would be enabling products that could be argued as targeted towards children”.

She said there will be “nothing to glorify the consumption of cannabis” – and actually, “quite the opposite because there will be public education campaigns about the harms”.

Comparing cannabis-infused lollies to alcohol-soaked lollies, Bennett said: “You’re not going to get absolutely drunk off a couple of vodka-soaked lollies, but you can get absolutely wasted on a few concentrated marijuana [edibles].”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/cannabis-gummy-bears-could-be-banned-under-law-reform.html
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Cannabis referendum: Legalisation in California no game-changer after 18 months

Stuff co.nz 8 May 2019
Family First Comment: A Kiwi living in California says the marijuana black market there still rules and tax revenue is far lower than expected.
“Each local jurisdiction can decide whether they want to allow cannabis businesses in their community, with about 80% saying no.”
That says it all!
www.VoteNo.nz

A Kiwi living in California says the marijuana black market there still rules and tax revenue is far lower than expected.

Journalist Alastair Paulin, a former Stuff news director, first moved to the US state in 1992, before returning to New Zealand in 2007. He moved back in July last year, a few months after it became legal for businesses to sell marijuana.

California legalised medicinal cannabis in 1996 and made recreational use for those aged over 21 legal in November 2016. In January 2018, licensed premises began selling cannabis products in certain parts of the state.

Rules around cannabis consumption in California are similar to what the Government is proposing here. Californians are only allowed to consume in their homes or in private premises where authorised by the landlord. Consumption in public or any place where smoking is forbidden is not allowed.

New Zealand’s Government announced on Tuesday the public will decide on whether the drug should be legalised through a referendum at next year’s general election.

Paulin said he had not noticed a significant difference in consumption since the new laws in California.

“You do not see people walking around, smoking in public. Occasionally I smell it … people smoking on their apartment’s balcony.”

Vaping, eating hash lollies and brownies is an option accessible through licensed shops only.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112547162/cannabis-referendum-legalisation-in-california-no-gamechanger-after-18-months

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MPs urged to reconsider allowing police ‘discretion’ over drugs

NewsHub 8 May 2019
Family First Comment: It’s important that young people fear prosecution of using illegal drugs because it’s a “deterrent from use”. – Family First NZ

MPs have been pleaded to rethink a clause in proposed drug law reforms that would allow discretion for police to prosecute for possession and use of drugs.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill intends to address the harm caused by synthetic drugs, and others, by ensuring that those who import, manufacture, and supply the drug are targeted – not those who use them.

But some submitters to select committee on Wednesday said they’re concerned about “discretion” not being clear enough. They also said the “therapeutic” approach might encourage young people to try drugs.

Ross McCook, chief executive of Auckland charity group Heart for Youth Trust, said while he had no arguments about cracking down on synthetic drugs, he was concerned about the health-based approach expected of police.

“How can police make that decision? What does that even mean?” he asked. “Police are going to throw their hands up and say it’s too difficult.”

McCook added: “Criminal conviction is the only thing stopping children from trying drugs. We need compassion but we also need a bar that’s going to be preventative.”

Under the proposed law changes, people caught possessing and using illegal drugs would face lighter charges. Police would not prosecute for possession, and personal use would merit an approach where users would be considered for rehab.

Bob McCoskrie, national director of conservative Christian lobby group Family First New Zealand, told MPs it’s important that young people fear prosecution of using illegal drugs because it’s a “deterrent from use”.

McCoskrie said: “We support the intent of the Bill to allow [police] consideration [of a health-based approach], but not requirement of a health-based approach for low-level or first-time drug use and possession.”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/mps-pleaded-to-reconsider-allowing-police-discretion-over-drugs.html

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MPs ‘very, very unprepared’ for ‘significant infrastructure change’ required for legalisation of cannabis, US anti-cannabis activist says

TVNZ One News 8 May 2019
Family First Comment: “there are people who are consuming cannabis and they will always be consuming cannabis. The problem in Colorado is that now, more kids are consuming it than ever before, and when you bring these corporate interests in, they’re not just smoking weed; no, they’re eating gummy bears and they’re smoking concentrates – THC levels that medical science has never seen before. That’s where we start to get into sort of the mental health issues which are really plaguing my home state.”

The debate over legalising recreational cannabis has been lit up following the Government’s release of details on the 2020 referendum.

However, New Zealand isn’t the only place to debate the issue. Almost seven years ago, the US state of Colorado became a place where people could legally light up, and not everyone was happy about it.

“It was a really immediate change in the way people perceived the drug, first off, so you just saw much, much more use and as a parent, walking around – lighting up in the zoo parking lot, outside your local grocery stores – forced some awkward conversations with the kids,” US anti-cannabis campaigner Ben Cort told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning.

“From a larger scale perspective, we saw an almost immediate influx of huge money by the marijuana industry, and that industry kind of played the same game that alcohol and tobacco has always played, which is ‘make as much money as quickly as we can,'” he said.

The Government’s proposed cannabis 2020 referendum would allow for people aged 20 and above to buy the drug from a licensed store, and would have to be consumed on private properties such as a home or on a licensed premises.

The proposed legislation would also allow for the recreational drug be grown in homes and private cultivation would be regulated, but the number of plants Kiwis would be able to grow would be unclear.

The legislation will not be passed when the public votes, but will instead be passed after the election.

Mr Cort said being more careful in how we form legislation around the marketing of cannabis, such as advertising for the recreational drug, is “a really good start.”

However, he noted that several MPS, who he had spoken to in a recent visit, appeared to be “very, very unprepared, and didn’t even understand what it would take to actually test to make sure that the quality control was there for both keeping pesticides out, the heavy metals and even the potency.”

“We’re talking about a significant infrastructure change that I don’t think you guys are quite ready for. Advertising, one, but you’ve got to figure out how to keep this substance safe.”

Mr Cort also argued that legalisation won’t necessarily lead to people being aware of what they are smoking.

“It’s easy to get caught up in desire to make moves quickly, without a full understanding of it. So yes, of course there are people who are consuming cannabis and they will always be consuming cannabis. The problem in Colorado is that now, more kids are consuming it than ever before, and when you bring these corporate interests in, they’re not just smoking weed; no, they’re eating gummy bears and they’re smoking concentrates – THC levels that medical science has never seen before.

“That’s where we start to get into sort of the mental health issues which are really plaguing my home state.”
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/mps-very-unprepared-significant-infrastructure-change-required-legalisation-cannabis-us-anti-activist-says
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