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New Zealanders will vote on whether cannabis should be legalised for personal use at 2020 election

TVNZ One News 18 December 2018
Family First Comment: #SayNopeToDope
www.VoteNo.nz

The Government has confirmed there will be a binding referendum on legalising cannabis at the 2020 general election.

A short time ago the Justice Minister Andrew Little told reporters, “The Cabinet decision is that it will be held at the 2020 general election, the agreement is that it will be binding, there’s a bit of detail still to be worked through but we’re telling the Electoral Commission that’s when it will be”.

“We have made the decision that we’re not going to use the citizen assembly process for policy development largely because the decision is quite late in the process so we won’t be using that mechanism in terms of a public engagement we will have other ways of getting the public debate going.”

Mr Little is expecting there will also be a referendum on the Act MP David Seymour’s assisted dying euthanasia bill at that time too.

He says the Government has not yet decided if it will also hold a third referendum on the MMP threshold at the next election.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/new-zealanders-vote-whether-cannabis-should-legalised-personal-use-2020-election
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Toddlers die painful death while mother smokes marijuana (US)

Toddlers die a ‘painful death’ after being left in a hot car for 15 hours
NZ Herald 17 December 2018
Family First Comment:  “Nobody ever died from smoking marijuana.” Yeah right. 
#saynopetodope
www.VoteNo.nz

A teenage mum has been jailed for 40 years after she left her two daughters to die in a 48 degree car while she smoked marijuana and partied with friends.

A judge has slammed Amanda Hawkins, a self-described sex-addict, for her selfish behaviour, telling her, “People in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids” after she left her two little girls, Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2 and Brynn Hawkins, 1, to die in a car for 15 hours.

The Texas woman left the children in the vehicle on June 6, 2017, around 9pm where they sat helpless, strapped in their car seats until noon the next day.

“Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened,” Kerr County, Texas, Judge N. Keith Williams told the now 20-year-old during her sentencing last week.

The toddlers were found in a serious condition and close to death as temperatures soared to nearly 50 degrees, news.com.au reported.

In September, she admitted to leaving her kids in the car to die, having pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless injury to a child and two counts of abandoning or endangering a child.

Judge Williams sentenced her to 40 years jail.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12178208

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Labour violins play but ovation must wait

NZ Herald 15 December 2018
Family First Comment: Excellent commentary on Labour’s shoddy law making around both medicinal marijuana and drug policy…
Medicinal – “You had to read the news reports carefully to notice that a great deal of work on the bill, now law, has still to be done. “Little” details such as, what cannabis products? How will people know they are effective? Who will be allowed to make them? How are you going to restrict them to people genuinely in pain or terminally ill?.. Until they can work them out the legislation does almost nothing, it’s just a statute of intention.”
Drug Policy – “(Police) Discretion works well enough in practice but how do you define it in law? More hard work for somebody else.”
“Maybe this Government is using medical legalisation to soften the electorate for general decriminalisation before we get a referendum on that issue. Is that the kind of dishonesty we are dealing with? I prefer to think not…”
Hmmm.

Labour governments have one habit that annoys me intensely. They love to trumpet big liberal social advances without doing the hard work. The last Labour Government made an art-form of this and the present one is shaping up to be just the same.

This week its Health Minister, David Clark, moved the final reading of the bill legalising medicinal cannabis and hailed it as “compassionate and progressive” legislation that would make a difference to people living in pain and nearing the end of their lives. You could almost hear the violins playing in Labour minds and see the wistful look in their eyes as they imagined this moment in a movie made for audiences susceptible to simplified social history.

You had to read the news reports carefully to notice that a great deal of work on the bill, now law, has still to be done. “Little” details such as, what cannabis products? How will people know they are effective? Who will be allowed to make them? How are you going to restrict them to people genuinely in pain or terminally ill?

All those questions, and more, have been passed to officials in the Ministry of Health. Until they can work them out the legislation does almost nothing, it’s just a statute of intention. Labour governments tend to love those.

It annoys me intensely because it is dishonest. Not just politically, but intellectually dishonest, which you would not expect Labour people to be. I don’t understand how they can take pride in acts of principle that leave so many practical difficulties demanding answers.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=12177188

Its up to Parliament not Police to decide drug law
KiwiBlog 15 December 2018 
“There is concern about some aspects of the government announcement. It has an air of drug reform on the fly, rather than a more considered debate and informed legislation. I am worried that by codifying police discretion the Government is potentially asking officers to be the spearhead of decriminalisation. If decriminalisation is what Parliament wants, then that’s what the law should say.” – Police Association.
READ MORE: https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2018/12/its_up_to_parliament_not_police_to_decide_drug_law.html

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Statement on the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act

Scoop 13 December 2018
Family First Comment: “Officers apply discretion on a daily basis in dealing with a range of matters, including the possession and use of drugs. Applying this discretion increasingly includes the use of alternative resolution options including pre-charge warnings, Te Pae Oranga, and referrals to health and other support services. Our focus continues to be on targeting the organised criminal networks who supply these harmful drugs to our communities. However, the possession and use of illicit drugs remains illegal and prosecution remains an option in order to prevent harm and keep people safe.”
And this is how the marijuana laws should be treated also. Keep them illegal – but adopt a smart arrest policy.
But DON’T legalise marijuana.

Preventing harm caused by organised crime and drugs is a key priority for Police.

We know that effective prevention requires action to target supply chains, combined with health-focused support to reduce demand, addiction and improve people’s lives.

The move to schedule 5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA as Class A will provide Police with additional powers to target the manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic drugs, who are responsible for significant harm in our communities.

The proposals also ask Police to prioritise a health response over a criminal one in applying discretion when dealing with the possession or use of drugs.

Guided by the Policing Act 2008, the Solicitor-General’s prosecution guidelines, and Police’s Prevention First operating model, officers apply discretion on a daily basis in dealing with a range of matters, including the possession and use of drugs.

Applying this discretion increasingly includes the use of alternative resolution options including pre-charge warnings, Te Pae Oranga, and referrals to health and other support services.

Our focus continues to be on targeting the organised criminal networks who supply these harmful drugs to our communities.

However, the possession and use of illicit drugs remains illegal and prosecution remains an option in order to prevent harm and keep people safe.

Police will work closely with partner agencies to develop clear guidance for dealing with those in possession or using drugs, as legislative details are confirmed.

As this guidance is developed, Police will continue using their discretion in a way that is consistent with our Prevention First model to reduce harm, provide support to those who need it, and keep our communities safe.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1812/S00169/statement-on-the-proposed-changes-to-the-misuse-of-drugs-act.htm
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When the Makers of Marlboro and Corona Get Into Marijuana

The New York Times 12 December 2018
Family First Comment: “There’s always been the expectation that big business was going to come in; we’ve been hearing rumors about ‘Marlboro Greens’ for decades now. Now we’re past the point of no return.”
Legalisation of marijuana is simply the same thing as Big Tobacco II.
They’re already lining up.
#SayNopeToDope 
www.SayNopeToDope.nz

Proponents of legal marijuana spent decades fighting a slow battle for mainstream acceptance. Now, with recreational use legal in Canada and many states in the United States, big business is suddenly swooping in.

Altria, the maker of Marlboro and other cigarettes, last week paid $1.8 billion for almost half of Cronos Group, a cannabis company in Toronto.

In August, Constellation Brands, which owns Corona and other beers, paid $4 billion for a major stake in Canopy Growth, another Canadian marijuana company. That month, Molson Coors, another brewer, formed a joint venture with a cannabis company in Quebec.

“There’s always been the expectation that big business was going to come in; we’ve been hearing rumors about ‘Marlboro Greens’ for decades now,” said Bethany Gomez, director of research at Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research group. “Now we’re past the point of no return.”

The arrival of large multinational corporations portends sweeping changes for an industry that until recently operated in the shadows. As billions of dollars pour into product development, marketing and manufacturing, these companies will be looking to create big brands with the market share to match. Brightfield estimates that global legal cannabis sales will reach more than $31 billion in 2021, up from less than $8 billion last year.

But while large-scale investments suggest that the mainstream acceptance of marijuana has reached a significant tipping point, longtime cannabis advocates are worried that the idealistic entrepreneurs who made this moment possible may get left behind.
READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/business/cannabis-business-altria-canopy-constellation-cronos.html

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Government moved too slowly on regulating e-cigarettes, lead respiratory doc warns

TVNZ One News 13 December 2018
Family First Comment: “It still comes with health risks, which include damaging airways, causing inflammation and loss of lung function. [E-cigarettes] may be better than smoking… but when you consider that’s the most destructive consumer product ever introduced into the country, it’s not a massive hurdle to get over.”
Remember that one of the main products used by Big Marijuana is vaping. It’s all setting the scene for disaster.
#SayNopeToDope
www.VoteNo.nz

A lead respiratory doctor is warning that too many New Zealanders are vaping, wrongly believing e-cigarettes are safe.

Dr Stuart Jones, from Middlemore Hospital, says doctors have been gathering for regular meetings this year, and vaping is often brought up.

“There seems to be a common misconception that vaping is safe on the airways and this is most certainly not true,” he says.

Vaping was legalised in New Zealand early last year – seen as a safer alternative to smoking.

But Dr Jones cautions it still comes with health risks, which include damaging airways, causing inflammation and loss of lung function.

“[E-cigarettes] may be better than smoking… but when you consider that’s the most destructive consumer product ever introduced into the country, it’s not a massive hurdle to get over,” says Dr Jones.

While it’s illegal for those under 18 to buy e-cigarettes, the market is unregulated.

The latest statistics show 28 per cent of teenagers have tried e-cigarettes, and in the United States authorities appear to be regretting their relaxed stance on vaping.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/government-moved-too-slowly-regulating-e-cigarettes-lead-respiratory-doc-warns?utm_variant=taboola_visible_1

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Maintaining Illegality Of Drugs Vital For Public Health

Media Release 13 December 2018
Family First NZ says that the Government’s announcement of taking a tough line on synthetic cannabis is the right move, but maintaining the illegality of drugs is also important because we should continue fighting drugs and the devastation its use causes on both the users, their families, and society in general.

“The changes proposed today are already being used by the Police. They say: “Officers apply discretion on a daily basis in dealing with a range of matters, including the possession and use of drugs. Applying this discretion increasingly includes the use of alternative resolution options including pre-charge warnings, Te Pae Oranga, and referrals to health and other support services. Our focus continues to be on targeting the organised criminal networks who supply these harmful drugs to our communities. However, the possession and use of illicit drugs remains illegal and prosecution remains an option in order to prevent harm and keep people safe.” In the 20 years to 2014, the number of arrests for cannabis per 100,000 head of population dropped by 70%.

“This is a smart arrest policy. A sensible drug policy should recognise three pillars – similar to the successful approach towards SmokeFree NZ:

  • supply reduction – target the dealers and suppliers
  • demand reduction – promote a drug-free culture
  • harm reduction – ensure addiction services & support are available for those who genuinely want to quit. The primary purpose is not to keep users using, but reduce and help them exit drug use.

A smart arrest policy can both provide an important societal stamp of disapproval and provide an opportunity to intervene and stop the progression of use. Keeping marijuana illegal through an appropriate application of the laws that cater for ‘youthful indiscretions’ and which focus on supply and dealers is as much a public safety policy as it is a public health policy,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“But at a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, we should go no further and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm? It’s patently obvious to most people that legalisation will increase its use, and harm.”

“If we listen to drug advocates internationally, there will be calls for legalisation of not just marijuana but all drugs – cocaine, heroin, P. The Drug Foundation has already admitted that it wants to legalise dope and decriminalise all other drugs! This is a shocking scenario.”

Maintaining its illegality but using a smart arrest policy combined with the coercion of the law is the correct response to drug use.”

“Drug use is a major health issue, and that’s why the role of the law is so important. This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains. People should always come before profits.”
ENDS

Cannabis – the case against legalisation.

Andy Cook – CEO – Centre for Social Justice UK, 8 Dec 2018
Family First Comment: “Today the Centre for Social Justice pushes back against the increasing narrative of legalisation with a new report outlining why we are against this. The research in this report shows that legalisation would mean more than a million new users under 25, a sharp uptick in frequency of existing users, and hundreds of thousands of people gripped by addiction. The report shows that legalisation would greatly increase use, that arguments around a regulated market are at best a hope, and that the idea of it ending criminal networks are a pipe dream.”
Yep!
#SayNopeToDope
www.VoteNo.nz

When I co-founded the charity TwentyTwenty, its focus was on supporting disadvantaged 16–21-year-olds who were not in education, employment or training. These were kids with learning difficulties, crumbling home environments, disabilities, personal trauma, caring responsibilities, you name it. It was a difficult job. But when those kids turned up stoned, it was an impossible job.

The debate around cannabis use and legalisation is often debated in theory. At TwentyTwenty we lived it every single day and saw the enormous harm it could do, both in the disruption to the daily slog and the long term damage to kids’ brains.

Today the CSJ pushes back against the increasing narrative of legalisation with a new report outlining why we are against this. The research in this report shows that legalisation would mean more than a million new users under 25, a sharp uptick in frequency of existing users, and hundreds of thousands of people gripped by addiction.

The report shows that legalisation would greatly increase use, that arguments around a regulated market are at best a hope, and that the idea of it ending criminal networks are a pipe dream.

The expectation that drug dealers will simply see the error in their ways and become estate agents is neither based in reality nor in the evidence slowly emerging from other countries, where criminals have simply diversified.

Instead we must refocus the cannabis debate on educating about the harms and investing in treatment. Our recommendation of a drug awareness day, akin to the existing speed awareness course, would serve as a meaningful alternative to imposing a fine or issuing a caution. While for some cannabis users, it may never become an addiction, it would offer the chance for early intervention in those for whom it is a problem and simultaneously raise much needed funds for the struggling addiction treatment sector. The reality is that when the CSJ voices its opposition to cannabis legalisation among the power brokers and high thinkers of Westminster, we are seen as an outlier.

But when you meet the people whose lives have been devastated by it, when you spend time in the UK’s addiction clinics and Pupil Referral Units, the prisons and police cells, it’s hard to reach any other conclusion than any increased use is a risk too great to take.
READ THE FULL REPORT https://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/core/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/12/CSJJ6711-Cannabis-Report-181207-WEB.pdf
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Towns throughout NZ worried about drugs and housing crisis

Radio NZ News 12 December 2018
Family First Comment: “there were some massive social challenges that were facing their communities. One that was extremely consistent was the damage of drugs…”
DrugFree2025
www.VoteNo.nz

People in working class communities are most concerned about the effects of drug abuse and the housing crisis on their neighbourhoods.

The Salvation Army said these social problems are holding back communities from thriving and it’s calling on the government to help fix the problem.

The organisation interviewed more than 600 people on the streets of Kaitaia, Whangarēi, Manurewa, New Plymouth, Hornby and Timaru for its State of our Communities report, released today.

When asked what the they would say if they could talk to the prime minister about their community, people in the six communities raised serious concerns about drugs, housing, lack of mental health services and economic problems that were holding back their neighbourhoods.

Salvation Army policy analyst Ronji Tanielu said the report gives marginalised communities a voice.

“There were some real thriving communities but they all acknowledged that there were some massive social challenges that were facing their communities. One that was extremely consistent was the damage of drugs, especially methamphetamine,” Mr Tanielu said.
READ MORE: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/378070/towns-throughout-nz-worried-about-drugs-and-housing-crisis

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