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Media Release

Today’s Cannabis Linked To Violence – New Study

Media Release 8 June 2020
A large study just published by a team from Montreal University in Canada has found that people who regularly smoke cannabis are almost three times more likely to commit a violent offence as those who abstain from the drug.

The paper entitled “Association Between the Use of Cannabis and Physical Violence in Youths: A Meta-Analytical Investigation” and published in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) American Journal of Psychiatry did a meta-analysis of 30 studies which covered 296,815 people up to the age of 30.

The study found that over time, prolonged cannabis use profoundly alters the brain, making the user less able to control their temper, and that addicts may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms, making them irritable and prone to lashing out. Psychiatrist Professor Sir Robin Murray, a world-leading expert on the neurological impact of the drug, was quoted in the media saying that the link between cannabis use and violence was a ‘neglected area’.

The researchers say that while ‘the [scientific] literature has shown that cannabis use may lead to violent behaviours and aggression; however, this association has been inconsistent’ – with some studies showing a relationship and others not – their meta-analysis found users were more than twice as likely (2.15 times) to have committed a violent offence as non-users. Among ‘persistent heavy users’, the risk of violence was 2.81 times higher.

This follows a study published just last month in the journal JAMA Psychiatry which found that the use of high-potency cannabis was associated with a significant increase in the frequency of cannabis use, likelihood of cannabis problems, and likelihood of anxiety disorder. In addition, high-potency weed users are more likely to use weed at least once a week, twice as likely to have used illicit drugs within the past 12 months, and more than three times as likely to be tobacco smokers. Significantly, the study defined high potency as “typically ≥10% THC”. According to the proposed New Zealand legislation, THC levels (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) are initially set at 15% THC for smoking.

“This latest study simply reinforces what we already know. Today’s cannabis is a significantly harder more potent drug causing greater harms than the pot of the 90’s or earlier. The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS

Alliance of Community Leaders & Organisations Launch ‘Vote NO’ Campaign

Media Release 8 June 2020
An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum.

“We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”

The New Zealand coalition has aligned itself with the prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) – the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.

“Our NZ coalition is stoked to be aligned with such a credible organization as SAM. SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”

SAM-NZ
(Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ) 

REFERENDUM ON THE LEGALISATION OF RECREATIONAL CANNABIS 

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. It plays a significant role in domestic violence, crime, accidents, mental disorders and lost productivity.

The referendum proposed by the Government on the legalisation of cannabis will therefore be a watershed moment for the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.

Legalising the drug would in effect legitimise and increase its use in New Zealand. Regulations and the educative approach have failed to prevent the abuse of alcohol in this country with all of us having to suffer its adverse consequences in road accidents, violence and anti-social behaviour.

When education and regulation fail, the legal status of the drug is the only bottom line to prevent its wholesale adoption with all of the negative consequences for us as a nation.

Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ) is an alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers), and opposes any attempt to legalise cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.

We argue that drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. A smart arrest policy can both provide a 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 predominantly on supply and dealers is as much a public safety policy as it is a public health policy. But if those with addictions commit serious offences, as does happen, the criminal law cannot simply turn a blind eye. The community still needs to be protected.

We fully support the increased provision and funding of drug counselling services, drug treatment centres and drug education programmes in schools. These should remain our preferred ‘smart’ approach to cannabis use.

This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains and health. People should always come before profits.

Retaining it as a criminal offence sends a clear and unequivocal message that New Zealanders regard drug use as a dangerous and unacceptable form of recreation.

We urge New Zealanders to be fully informed on this debate, to think deeply on the implications, and to vote NO to legalising cannabis in the referendum.

Aaron Ironside                         Spokesperson: SAM-NZ
Pat Buckley                               Amped4Life Trust
Imraan Ali                             New Zealand Muslim Association
Pat Walsh                                  Secondary School Principal, former head of a Principal’s Ass’n
Rev Pane Kawhia                    Anglican Minister, Ruatoria
Christine Rankin                     Transforming Justice Foundation
Dr Ate  Moala                          PACYFIC Trust
Vic Tamati                               Community Worker
Mo McLeary                            Drug Free Ambassadors
Dr Andreas Leinfellner         Paediatrician.
Kirk Hardy                               The Drug Detection Agency
Alli Axford                               Drug Free World
Mazin  Al-Salim                      Working Together Group (WTG)
Sully Pa’ea                               Community Worker – South Auckland
Maureen MacDonald             Drug-ARM Wellington
Wayne Mulqueen                   Focus on the Family NZ
Jess McVicar                           Sensible Sentencing Trust
Dave Pizzini                             Ex-Police (Detective Senior Sergeant)
Bob McCoskrie                        Family First NZ
Darryl Wesley                         Health Professional
Stuart Caldwell                       Get Smart (Tauranga)
Brendon Warne                      Anti-P Ministries
Alan Vink                                 LeadershipWorx
Dale Kirk                                  Methcon
Stuart Lange                            NZ Christian Network
Nick Tuitasi QSM                   Pacific Wave
John Subritzky                        Promise Keepers
Rob Nordstrom                       Rubicon Alcohol & Other Drug
Gaylene Fraser                        Drug Free World
Karrin  Coates                         Sensible Sentencing Group Trust
Greer Keane                            Te Ata Rangi Rangatahi
Glenn   Dobson                       International Board Member – National Drug and Alcohol
Screening Association (NDASA)
Gayann Phillips                      NZ Christian Network
Christina Stroud                     World Federation Against Drugs
Ismail  Waja                            Working Together Group (WTG)
Bruce Couper                          Ex-Police
Phil Paikea                               Community Worker
Trevor Turner                         Drug Free World
Ronji Tanielu                          Community Worker
Allan Va’a                                Community Worker – South Auckland
Bev Adair-Beets                     Youth Advocate
Piripi Rakete                           Drug Free World
Dr Kevin Sabet                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
Luke Niforatos                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

 

Cannabis NO Campaign Announces Spokesperson

Media Release 3 June 2020
Aaron Ironside is the new spokesperson for the Say Nope To Dope campaign.

Aaron Ironside rose to prominence in the 1990’s as the anchor of Radio Hauraki’s popular Morning Pirates breakfast show. The young rock DJ fully embraced the Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll lifestyle that accompanied his new-found fame. Aaron quickly turned his occasional marijuana use into a daily habit that consumed his life. In time, he realised that his drug addiction was now affecting his mental health, exacerbating his symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In 1998, Aaron quit the high-profile job and decided to deal with his drug problem. Once clean he began working in the Not-For-Profit sector, putting his Masters Degree in Psychology to work. In 2012 he started A.I. Counselling and Coaching helping hundreds of clients find freedom from many different types of addiction and substance abuse.

Aside from his personal experience with cannabis, Aaron has witnessed the devastation the drug causes to vulnerable families during his work with a community group in Manurewa. The systemic damage that addiction creates was clearly seen in the poverty, crime and mental health outcomes for the Maori and Pasifika families who engaged with the organisation.

Although himself drug-free for over 20 years, some extended family members continue to struggle with the grip Cannabis has over their lives. Aaron is passionate about protecting them from further harm, and helping New Zealand pursue programs and legislation that will benefit all sectors of society.

The Say Nope to Dope campaign is a group of concerned organisations and individuals who oppose any attempt to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. The group will be officially launched in the coming weeks.

Support For Legalising Cannabis Continues To Drop – Poll

Media Release 29 May 2020
A new poll – the first to be taken after the proposed bill to regulate cannabis was published by the Government – reveals that support for legalising cannabis for recreational use continues to drop.

The survey by Curia Market Research shows that 50% of New Zealanders said they plan to vote against legalisation, and only 35% are planning to vote in favour. 15% are undecided or wouldn’t say. Ignoring the undecided voters, the potential result is 59% against and 41% in favour. Strongest opposition comes from men, older voters and National voters. Labour voters appear split on the issue.

This polling is consistent with previous polling on the issue. The Horizon Research poll shows support for legalising has plummeted from 60% late 2018 to just 39% in 2019. This is a similar trend to the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll (39% support, down from 43%), and the Newshub-Reid Research Poll (41.7% support).

“We’re stoked that our messaging and our SayNopeToDope campaign is getting through to families. It is clear that while Kiwis strongly support a compassionate response to those in real need with a cautious and researched approach around cannabis medicine, when they thoughtfully consider the real implications of legalising recreational use, they completely reject the proposal – and rightly so.”

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.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS

Today’s cannabis increases health harms – new study

Media Release 28 May 2020
A new study just published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found that the use of high-potency cannabis was associated with a significant increase in the frequency of cannabis use, likelihood of cannabis problems, and likelihood of anxiety disorder.  In addition, high-potency weed users are more likely to use weed at least once a week, twice as likely to have used illicit drugs within the past 12 months, and more than three times as likely to be tobacco smokers.

The study involved more than 1,087 UK residents who reported marijuana use in the past year, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

The researchers say that this study provides the first general population evidence suggesting that the use of high-potency cannabis is associated with mental health and addiction.

Significantly, the study defined high potency as “typically ≥10% THC”. According to the proposed New Zealand legislation, THC levels (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) are initially set at 15% THC for smoking.

This is significantly higher than the Woodstock Weed of 2-4%. But as we know, when the potency is limited, this will simply empower the black market and the gangs who will provide high-THC products demanded by users.

“This latest study simply reinforces what we already know. The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS

Proposed Cannabis Law Fails Public Health & Safety Test

Media Release 20 May 2020
With the help of senior lawyers, the SayNopeToDope campaign has analysed the proposed legislation – Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill – that would be introduced if NZ’ers voted to legalise the recreational use of cannabis in the upcoming referendum.

The 4-page summary, Analysis – Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, highlights significant concerns around:

  • home grows, and the large quantities that can be grown
  • consuming drugs at home in front of children and young people
  • high quantities of purchase and possession
  • age restrictions which will be difficult to enforce, as already evidenced by tobacco & alcohol
  • home production of edibles and dabbing e.g. butane hash oil (already an issue in NZ and overseas)
  • restrictions on potency which will be difficult to enforce and will empower the black market
  • difficulties for councils to ban pot shops in their local areas
  • increased regulation which will mean increased demand for policing (rather than a reduction as argued)
  • education and prevention is mentioned, but only in relation to use
  • contradicts our SmokeFree 2025 policy

The analysis is also available online https://saynopetodope.org.nz/2020/05/01/control/

This follows up the earlier resource presenting 20 reasons for New Zealanders to vote no in the upcoming referendum20 Reasons to Vote NO in 2020”.

“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS

Government Buying A Yes Vote in Cannabis Debate?

Media Release 10 May 2020
The SayNopeToDope Campaign says that if the NZ Drug Foundation is receiving further significant funding from the Government, on top of what they already receive, they should not be the lead organisation promoting a Yes vote in the cannabis referendum.

“This will be a direct conflict of interest when the Drug Foundation are promoting the legalisation of cannabis – as well as the decriminalisation of all other drugs including meth, cocaine and heroin – and the taxpayer is having to fund them at the same time,” says a spokesperson for the SayNopeToDope campaign.

“It will open up the Government to accusations of ‘buying’ a yes vote and a change of law.”

“In a strong democracy, lobbyists and lawmakers should be at arm’s length – especially with a major vote on an issue about to happen.”

“Either the Drug Foundation takes government funding and removes itself from leading one side of the debate, or it rejects the funding and focuses on lobbying for the liberalisation of drug laws.”

“But it can’t do both.”
ENDS

NEW RESOURCE: 20 Reasons to Vote NO to Cannabis

Media Release 4 May 2020
As the debate on legalising cannabis for recreational use heats up, a new resource presents 20 reasons for New Zealanders to vote no in the upcoming referendum.

20 Reasons to Vote NO in 2020” include:
* potency – today’s marijuana is a different, harder drug
* dope is addictive and harmful – It wrecks lives
* laws work – the illegal status deters people from using
* legalising cannabis while promoting health is hypocritical
* driving stoned will put everyone at risk
* promises of a tax windfall are grossly overstated
* workplace dope use will put everyone at risk
* legalisation of marijuana is just the start
and many more.

The information is available as a 4-page pamphlet for free download. DOWNLOAD HERE. This resource will be distributed widely throughout the country.

“The Government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of families with the use of the word ‘control’ in the Referendum question, but the overseas experience in every jurisdiction that has gone down this track proves that it will be a public health and safety disaster – just as it was when Big Tobacco was allowed in,” says a spokesperson for the SayNopeToDope campaign.

“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”

A detailed analysis of the “Cannabis Legalisation And Control Bill” has also been published.
ENDS

Black Market & Drug Advocates Will Be Celebrating Cannabis Bill

Media Release 1 May 2020 
The main beneficiaries of the just-released ‘Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill’ will be drug advocates who hope that the bill will create a smokescreen for the actual outcomes of legalising cannabis, but more importantly the black market who will be celebrating the provisions that will make their product even more valuable – with an increased public demand.

“There are so many flaws in this law which provide false assurances that it’s difficult to know where to start. The Government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of families with the use of the word ‘control’ in the Referendum question, but the overseas experience in every jurisdiction that has gone down this track proves that it will be a public health and safety disaster – just as it was when Big Tobacco was allowed in,” says a spokesperson for the SayNopeToDope campaign.

“In Canada, just 29% of users buy all of their product legally. Organised criminal syndicates and gangs adapt to changing political and economic environments, because their ultimate goal is not to break the law but to commercialise and exploit human nature. Legalisation is unlikely to see a decrease in any associated criminal activity, and when cannabis is heavily regulated, this simply drives drug users to the black market with its cheaper and higher potency products, and provide a ‘legal’ cover for dealers in the community.”

“In the bill released today, concepts such as ‘education’ and ‘prevention’ are only used in the context of preventing harm from use or over-consumption, and education is mentioned only in the context of addressing harmful cannabis use, and to promote responsible use. The notion of ‘Drug-Free’ is ignored.”

“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”

“Drug advocates are desperate to institute their addiction-for-profit model – inch by inch. It’s time to end this reckless push once and for all.

The government bill proposes:

A MINIMUM PURCHASE AND USE AGE OF 20

  • Research shows that adolescents access alcohol and tobacco primarily through friends and family, not from retailers. Why would cannabis be any different? Given the draft law allows cannabis growing for personal use, it is highly likely that legalisation will result in increased access through young people’s social networks, and through the gangs / black market operating outside their school gate.
  • By legalising the drug, young people will see drug use as normalised, their perceived risk of harm related to drug use will decrease, and their use will increase.

PURCHASE & POSSESSION WOULD BE LIMITED TO 14 GRAMS A DAY PER PERSON

  • That’s a purchase allowance of anywhere from 30–40 joints, every day – per person!
  • You can also legally carry those 30–40 joints at any time.
  • These limits will be virtually impossible to police. Do we stop and search every person?

ANY PERSON WILL BE ALLOWED TO GROW TWO PLANTS FOR PERSONAL USE, AND UP TO FOUR PER HOUSEHOLD – AND ‘SOCIALLY SHARED’

  • The problem with family homes being used as ‘grows’ is that dope dealers will simply stay under the radar with multi-location grows, and children will be exposed to the industry – right in their backyard.
  • Products can easily be diverted to the black market.
  • A dealer could grow up to 9 plants and the fine if caught is between $500 and $1,000. But according to the police, one mature processed plant could be worth approximately $1,000 street value.
  • Home grows are not subject to quality control, potency controls or labelling requirements.
  • “Social sharing” is allowed as long as there is no ‘material benefit’ – but this is not defined, and how is this policed? This simply equates to ‘cash deals’ and ‘under-the-table’ trading.
  • The Police Association have admitted that the legal grow limits would be hard to police.

STRICT CONTROLS AND REGULATIONS ON THE POTENCY OF CANNABIS

  • THC levels (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) are set at 15% THC for smoking. This is significantly higher than the Woodstock Weed of 2-4%.
  • When the potency is limited, this will simply empower the black market and the gangs who will provide high-THC products demanded by users. 

EDIBLES WILL BE LEGAL

  • Many of these products are targeted at young people. Every other overseas jurisdiction has been engulfed with edibles, either through the legal market (Colorado, California), or through the black market (Uruguay, Canada). The market share of bud has fallen and the market share of THC-infused edibles and THC concentrates continues to rise.
  • Allowing edibles will encourage people to use cannabis who otherwise wouldn’t have – especially young people.
  • Allowing edibles can lead people to consume too much. Because the effect may be delayed, it is harder to judge when to stop.
  • THC concentrate is mixed into almost any type of food or drink – not just gummi bears. The potency of edibles (several times that of an average joint) and their attractiveness to kids have led to serious problems in legalised states.

PROHIBITS CONSUMPTION IN PUBLIC PLACES, LIMITS USE TO PRIVATE HOMES

  • SmokeFree 2025 – but a joint or edible in the home is fine – along with “social sharing” with other users.
  • This sets a terrible example to young people and children about drug use, and risks their welfare if parents and others are under the influence of drugs in the home.

AND LICENCED PREMISES

  • These will be drug venues (cannabis coffee shops) including BYO cafes where cannabis consumption is normalised and effectively encouraged.
  • These venues allow cannabis, cannabis products and accessories.

RESTRICTIONS’ ON MARKETING AND A ‘BAN’ ON ADVERTISING CANNABIS

  • A legalised market simply opens the door to a powerful industry focused on maximising profits, not health.
  • As we know from the past actions of the tobacco industry, any restrictions on the cannabis industry’s ability to advertise their product will either be flouted, lobbied against, or they will look for alternative ways to target their customer base.
  • Faced with limited advertising options, ‘Big Marijuana’ overseas are turning to cannabis ‘influencers’. Advertising agencies use ‘influencers’ with tens of thousands of followers to those with millions of followers in order to dodge regulations, and to market their products.

LIMITS SALE OF CANNABIS TO SPECIFICALLY LICENCED PHYSICAL STORES (NOT ONLINE OR REMOTE SALES)

  • The internet is notoriously difficult to police, and it won’t be difficult for consumers to find dealers with high potency products available for purchase who will flout any regulations.

REQUIRES HARM MINIMISATION MESSAGING IN THE RETAILING OF CANNABIS

  • There is no explanation of what those specifically are – and the cannabis industry (like the tobacco and alcohol industry) will be desperate to understate the harms. For example, there is no mention of psychosis, depression, anxiety or addiction.

ESTABLISHES A STATE LICENCING REGIME THAT ALL STAGES OF THE GROWING AND SUPPLY CHAIN ARE LICENCED AND CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT

  • That means checking every home grow, every user for their age, testing all potencies, all licensed premises, management of associated waste products, offences and penalties for non-compliance – the list goes on. This means that the police will be just as busy – if not busier.
  • The police association are concerned that one of the proposed benefits is to free up police resources, but that is not likely to happen. And if the ‘legalisation and control’ was be to closely monitored, that would put more demand on the police.
  • Tax and pricing could also be a problem. If you can’t drive the price down, that is not going to get rid of the black market.

NO SPECIFIC CONTROLS AROUND VAPING

  • It’s this tiny device that’s quickly taking over cannabis consumption – and young people love it, especially because it’s so easy to hide, and produces little-to-no smell when consumed. You simply screw it into an inexpensive, rechargeable pen and inhale. One recent US study showed increased use by 14-18 year olds of newer forms of consumption – vaping and edibles.
  • The only concern is around emissions from vaping

NO allowance for LOCAL COUNCILS TO HAVE the POWER TO regulate their location – JUST ‘CONSULTATION’

  • Local councils in consultation with their communities should be given the power to control the location of these drug retailers, and the power to ban them altogether, if so desired. This has been left to the Cannabis Regulatory Authority (s16).

There is also no specific legislation around road safety measures, workplace safety and workplace drug testing, and discouraging pregnant mums from consuming.
ENDS

WATCH – Bob McCoskrie v Chloe Swarbrick

On TVNZ1’s Q+A programme on Sunday evening we debated the legalisation of marijuana and the upcoming referendum with Green MP Chloe Swarbrick.

The Greens have negotiated a referendum on this issue as part of the coalition agreement with Labour and NZ First. This is actually a good thing because drug supporters have been hiding behind medicinal marijuana (which we support if it’s controlled and regulated cannabis medicine and not smoked) and decriminalisation. But they’ve now revealed the ultimate goal – legalisation of dope for recreational purposes, and not just this drug but eventually, all drugs.

The SayNopeToDope Campaign is intending to mount a strong education campaign to warn New Zealanders about allowing ‘Big Marijuana’ to come into NZ. We agree – it’s a health issue, and that’s why the legal status of the drug is so important!