Category

Media Release

‘Value Your Vote’ Election Resource Launched

Media Release 13 Aug 2017
For the fourth successive election, Family First NZ has launched their Value Your Vote resource to inform voters leading up to the September election.

Value Your Vote records how existing MP’s have voted over the past five terms on controversial issues with a focus on votes related to marriage, parenting, and other key social issues. It also makes an important projection on how existing MPs are likely to vote on the upcoming euthanasia and medicinal marijuana bills,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“We believe that the issues of the economy, education, health, housing, and law and order are significant. But focusing on economics and other issues while ignoring social values will actually make society’s present problems worse, not better. Research proves that the strength of marriage and family has a major impact on the strength of our nation and the rates of child poverty, child abuse, costs of welfare, and an ordered civil society. Over the past 15 years, there have been a number of law changes voted on by our politicians specifically impacting the welfare of Kiwi families and the role of parents. Marriage has been increasingly devalued.”

There is also a survey of the party leaders’ views and voting intentions on 38 issues including the definition of marriage, income splitting, decriminalisation of abortion, euthanasia & marijuana, ‘gender identity’ in schools, Easter trading laws, same-sex adoption, paid parental leave, broadcasting standards, and many more.

“In a new feature for this election, we have asked all the major parties what their official party policy is regarding the crucial issues of marriage, the anti-smacking law, abortion, euthanasia, marijuana, gender ‘identity’, sex education in schools & parental notification, and others,” says Mr McCoskrie.

This resource was available at the last election in 2014 (and also in 2011 & 2008) and was very popular with over 100,000 page views on the website, and more than 150,000 brochures distributed throughout the country. 80,000 copies have already been ordered.

“Family First New Zealand does not endorse or oppose candidates or parties for elective office, but this resource offers an important perspective on each candidate and party in matters important to families. We are pleased to offer this guide as a helpful resource to aid you in making an informed decision when you vote this September.”

DOWNLOAD THE 16-PAGE PAMPHLET
OFFICIAL WEBSITEwww.ValueYourVote.nz

Website to Help Families Oppose Dope Launched

Media Release 4 July 2017
Family First NZ has launched a new website to inform families about the agenda to liberalise laws around marijuana and other drugs, and to help them speak up in the public debate.

SayNopeToDope.org.nz has the latest research, news items, Family First media releases, and also links to other overseas websites also opposing the liberalisation or legalisation of dope.

“Any hint of decriminalising recreational marijuana use is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people, and the government should maintain the drug’s illegal status,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions apparently haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both. Policing burglary, theft and the drug P also costs money – should we decriminalise these also because the ‘war on burglary’ or the ‘war on P’ is failing?”

“It is ironic that at the same time as we tear the labelling off cigarette packets, price them out of existence, and ban them from being smoked within breathing space of any living creature, supporters of marijuana are peddling the same myths that we believed for far too long about tobacco – that marijuana is harmless,” says Mr McCoskrie.  

“Ministry of Justice statistics debunk claims by supporters of weakening laws around marijuana that hundreds of people are being locked up for petty drug offences each year. Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Justice by Family First NZ under the Official Information Act show that less than 10 people have been given a prison sentence for cannabis possession offences in each of the last three years, and that even these sentences may be ‘influenced by their previous offending history’. It will be difficult to meet somebody who says they’ve been behind bars for smoking a joint, and that’s their only crime,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

Dr Gregory Pike, the Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture who spoke in NZ in 2015 says:
“In recent years, several US states have legalised marijuana for recreational purposes.  This has happened after many years of legal access to marijuana as medicine in those same states. The reason the transition was anticipated is because changing the image of cannabis by promoting it as medicine is powerful.  There doesn’t need to be much nuance in the idea that medicines are good and abstracted from that nasty business of “illicit drugs”.  The latter wreck lives whereas the former heal people. The image change gets into the collective consciousness and people start to think differently, gradually allowing a medical paradigm to overtake even strong contrary evidence of harm.”

However, Family First is supporting the government’s current approach of allowing seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health via their doctor, and further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms.
ENDS

Green’s Medicinal Marijuana Bill Fails Safety Test

Media Release 8 June 2017
Family First NZ says that the private members bill of Green MP Julie Anne Genter should be rejected by MPs when it comes up for its 1st Reading in Parliament, and that the cautious approach being used by the Government is the correct approach.

“This bill is effectively a grow-your-own-dope bill with very little control or safeguards. In fact, you can become a dope dealer for your relative or friend. And the qualifying medical condition criteria is very wide and subjective. NZ’ers need to be aware of the smoke-screen of ‘medicinal marijuana’ and the real agenda by some groups behind liberalising drug laws and the potential abuse of medicinal marijuana. The strategy of groups who want dope legalised is to promote medicinal marijuana which simply manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns. But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to ‘recreational’ purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Other weaknesses of Genter’s bill include:
•The definition of “medicinal cannabis” is much broader than anything in current regulations. It’s basically any weed for what ails you
•“Nominated support person” in the bill is anyone nominated by the prospective patient to “cultivate, administer, supply, or possess medicinal cannabis” on the patient’s behalf. Only a medical practitioner will need to be told that person’s name. This will be great news for dope dealers.
•“qualifying health condition” is very broad, including “chronic back or other pain” & “any other medical condition that a medical practitioner certifies may benefit from supplementary plant cannabinoids”. This is broader than a number of US states including California
•you only need a “supportive medical report” – not a prescription. So doctors will be agreeing to something they have no control over.

“The international experience and research backs this up. A US study found that the average ‘patient’ was a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life threatening illness. A study on medicinal marijuana, just published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that marijuana use and marijuana use disorders – in which people use the drug in unhealthy or abusive ways – increased at a “significantly greater rate” in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without the laws. The lead researcher from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health said that these laws seem to send a message that use of this drug is safe and acceptable in some way,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Any proposal to go soft on recreational drug use, drug growing and drug dealing at any level should be completely rejected.”

However, Family First is supporting allowing CBD oil to be prescribed by doctors, further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms, and the establishment of a programme that allows seriously ill patients to obtain other non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health via their doctor.

The Green party’s medicinal cannabis bill in 2009 – which was soundly defeated – allowed for teenagers to cultivate and smoke cannabis with parental permission, created dope ‘pimps’, and appointed police to be the ‘dealers’. It also deemed medicinal purposes to include depression and mental illness, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, despite research suggesting that marijuana actually exacerbates these conditions.

“We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue, and we also support a compassionate response to those in real need. But this private members bill fails the safety test in terms of public health, public safety, and protecting our young people,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS

Medicinal Marijuana Laws Leads To Dope Abuse – US Study

Media Release 27 April 2017
Family First NZ says that a new study on medicinal marijuana in the US should sound a clear warning to our government to continue to take a cautious approach based on extensive research and appropriate safeguards around medicinal marijuana.

The study, published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that marijuana use and marijuana use disorders – in which people use the drug in unhealthy or abusive ways – increased at a “significantly greater rate” in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without the laws. The lead researcher from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health said that these laws seem to send a message that use of this drug is safe and acceptable in some way. They said that possible adverse consequences of illicit cannabis use due to more permissive state cannabis laws should receive consideration by voters, legislators, and policy and health care professionals.

“NZ’ers need to be aware of the smoke-screen of ‘medicinal marijuana’ and the real agenda by some groups behind liberalising drug laws and the potential abuse of medicinal marijuana. The strategy of groups who want dope legalised is to promote medicinal marijuana which simply manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns. But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to ‘recreational’ purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

However, Family First is supporting further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms, and supports the establishment of a programme that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health.

“The agenda of the Green Party and Gareth Morgan should be given a wide berth. The Green party’s medicinal cannabis bill in 2009 – which was soundly defeated – allowed for teenagers to cultivate and smoke cannabis with parental permission, created dope ‘pimps’, and appointed police to be the ‘dealers’. It also deemed medicinal purposes to include depression and mental illness, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, despite research suggesting that marijuana actually exacerbates these conditions.”

In 1979, NORML saidWe’ll use medical marijuana as red-herring to give marijuana a good name”. In 1996 when California approved medicinal marijuana, NORML said “marijuana has been de facto legalised under guise of medical marijuana”. A US study found that the average ‘patient’ was a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life threatening illness.

“Scientists have used the marijuana plant’s primary active ingredient – THC – as a pill form for nausea and appetite stimulation. It may be that there can be the development of non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems. But this should be decided on the basis of thorough clinical trials, as recommended by the US Institute of Medicine. We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue, but we also support a compassionate response to those in real need,” says Mr McCoskrie.

A new report recently released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found:

  • There was conclusive or substantial evidence (the most definitive levels) that cannabis or cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant, can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, which is “by far the most common” reason people request medical marijuana, according to the report. With similar certainty, they found cannabis can treat muscle spasms related to MS and can help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
  • There was limited evidence that smoking marijuana could have some anti-inflammatory activity.
  • In terms of mental health, substantial evidence shows an increased risk for developing schizophrenia among frequent users, something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people at risk for schizophrenia in the first place. There was also moderate evidence that cannabis use was connected to a small increased risk for depression and an increased risk for social anxiety disorder.
  • One of the most interesting and perhaps most important conclusions of the report is that far more research on cannabis is needed.

The committee behind the report, representing top universities around the country, considered more than 10,000 studies for their analysis, from which they were able to draw nearly 100 conclusions.
ENDS

‘Petty’ Marijuana Users Not Filling Our Prisons

Media Release 14 February 2017
Family First NZ says that Ministry of Justice statistics debunk claims by supporters of weakening laws around marijuana that hundreds of people are being locked up for petty drug offences each year, and that the current illegal status around recreational marijuana must be maintained for the sake of public health and enforcement.

Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Justice by Family First NZ under the Official Information Act show that less than 10 people have been given a prison sentence for cannabis possession offences in each of the last three years, and that even these sentences may be ‘influenced by their previous offending history’.

Claims have been made that hundreds of minor drug offenders are being locked up for petty drug offences every year, that the system isn’t working, and that by locking them up, they can come out as a ‘meth cook’. That simply isn’t true. It will be difficult to meet somebody who says they’ve been behind bars for smoking a joint, and that’s their only crime,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“In other words, very few are in prison merely for simple drug possession, or even small-level dealing for that matter, according to the stats. International studies have shown that most are imprisoned for aggravated drug crimes, that is, crimes committed while on drugs (murder, armed robbery, theft, assault, child abuse, etc.) or crimes committed in order to obtain drugs. The statistics from the Ministry of Justice appear to confirm that.”

“Erroneous claims that we are wasting time and resources focusing on the criminal aspect fail to understand that there has been a substantial decline in arrests for cannabis use in New Zealand over the past decade, and that police diversion and Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts have been increasingly used. But it is the application of the law which enables these orders to be made and enforced in the first place,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions apparently haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both.”

“While Family First welcomes a cautious approach based on extensive research and appropriate safeguards around medicinal marijuana, any hint of decriminalising / legalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people, and the government should maintain the drug’s illegal status.”
ENDS

Govt Must Be Cautious Of ‘Smokescreen’ Around Medicinal Marijuana

Media Release 8 February 2017
Family First NZ says that the government must take a cautious approach based on extensive research and appropriate safeguards around medicinal marijuana, but also should be very concerned about the real agenda behind liberalising drug laws and the potential abuse of medicinal marijuana.

However, Family First is supporting further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms, and supports the establishment of an emergency program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health.

“NZ’ers need to be aware of the smoke-screen of ‘medicinal marijuana’. The strategy of groups who want dope legalised is to promote medicinal marijuana which simply manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns. But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to ‘recreational’ purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“We certainly don’t want to go down the Green Party’s road either. Their medicinal cannabis bill in 2009 – which was soundly defeated – allowed for teenagers to cultivate and smoke cannabis with parental permission, created dope ‘pimps’, and appointed police to be the ‘dealers’. It also deemed medicinal purposes to include depression and mental illness, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, despite research suggesting that marijuana actually exacerbates these conditions.”

Dr. Christian Thurstone, a psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and medical director of one of that state’s largest adolescent substance-abuse-treatment programs, said“In the absence of credible data, this debate is being dominated by bad science and misinformation from people interested in using medical marijuana as a step to legalisation for recreational use.”

In 1979, NORML saidWe’ll use medical marijuana as red-herring to give marijuana a good name”. In 1996 when California approved medicinal marijuana, NORML said “marijuana has been de facto legalised under guise of medical marijuana”. But a US study found that the average ‘patient’ was a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life threatening illness. A 2011 study that examined 1,655 applicants in California who sought a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana found that very few had cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis.

“Scientists have used the marijuana plant’s primary active ingredient – THC – as a pill form for nausea and appetite stimulation. It may be that there can be the development of non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems. But this should be decided on the basis of thorough clinical trials, as recommended by the US Institute of Medicine.[1] We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue, but we also support a compassionate response to those in real need,” says Mr McCoskrie.

As Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) asserts, “Opium has medical value, and it is called morphine. Marijuana has medical value, too – but just as we don’t smoke opium to receive beneficial effects, we need not smoke marijuana to get its medical value.”

Family First has been calling for the following:

  • the expansion of research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms. (Supported by NZMA)
  • the establishment of an emergency or research program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana before final Ministry of Health approval.
  • the Government instruct the Ministry of Health to update the prescribing guidelines for pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines to include Sativex as a medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and to continue to make pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines available to treat serious medical conditions when traditional methods have failed.

A new report recently released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found:

  • There was conclusive or substantial evidence (the most definitive levels) that cannabis or cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant, can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, which is “by far the most common” reason people request medical marijuana, according to the report. With similar certainty, they found cannabis can treat muscle spasms related to MS and can help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
  • There was limited evidence that smoking marijuana could have some anti-inflammatory activity.
  • In terms of mental health, substantial evidence shows an increased risk for developing schizophrenia among frequent users, something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people at risk for schizophrenia in the first place. There was also moderate evidence that cannabis use was connected to a small increased risk for depression and an increased risk for social anxiety disorder.
  • One of the most interesting and perhaps most important conclusions of the report is that far more research on cannabis is needed.

The committee behind the report, representing top universities around the country, considered more than 10,000 studies for their analysis, from which they were able to draw nearly 100 conclusions.
ENDS

Polls Show Dope Not A Done Deal

Media Release 15 August 2016
Family First NZ is rejecting calls for the laws on marijuana to be changed, and says that the poll released today confirms that as high as 75% of NZ’ers don’t want a free-for-all.

The result also confirms earlier polling done by Family First in 2013 by the same polling company that showed 60% opposition to legalising marijuana. **

However, Family First is supporting calls for further controlled research in to the benefits of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms for medicinal purposes.

“This poll confirms that the public are nowhere near settled on this issue – and they are right to be cautious. Softening the laws around marijuana is the wrong path to go down if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people, and the government should maintain the drug’s illegal status. Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions apparently haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Proponents also suggest that we could make tax dollars out of decriminalising dope. It also fails to acknowledge the health costs which will result from giving the green light to drugs. Erroneous claims that drug use is a health issue and we are wasting time and resources focusing on the criminal aspect fail to understand that there has been a substantial decline in arrests for cannabis use in New Zealand over the past decade, and that police diversion and Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts have been increasingly used,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It is also ironic that at the same time as we ban synthetic cannabis, and tear the labelling off cigarette packets, price them out of existence, and ban them from being smoked within breathing space of any living creature, supporters of marijuana are peddling the same myths that we believed for far too long about tobacco – that marijuana is harmless.”

“Supporters of decriminalisation would have us believe that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance that gives users little more than a sense of mellow euphoria and hurts no one else. But growers want to sell marijuana with increased potency because it’s more addictive. With increased potency comes increased health risks, greater likelihood of addiction, and the potential gateway in to other and often more harmful drugs.”

“Decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health and public safety, and about our young people. We will then start sending the message that marijuana isn’t that big a deal and that adults got the ‘say no to drugs’ message wrong,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The grass is not always greener.”

Note: Family First is calling for the following:
•the expansion of research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms (Supported by NZMA)
•the establishment of an emergency or research program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana before final Ministry of Health approval
•the Government instruct the Ministry of Health to update the prescribing guidelines for pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines to include Sativex as a medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and to continue to make pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines available to treat serious medical conditions when traditional methods have failed.

** In the poll of 1,000 NZ’ers by Curia Market Research, respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “If an adult wishes to use a drug such as marijuana, they should be able to do so legally.” Only 33% of respondents agreed, with 60% disagreeing and 7% being unsure or refusing to say. Females were more likely to oppose marijuana being legal, but there was greater support from the 18-40 age group compared to other age groups. National supporters were most opposed to legalising marijuana (68%) compared to other parties.
ENDS marijuana poll Curia 2016

Government Must Say Nope To Dope

MARIJUANA stop signMedia Release 30 Mar 2016
Family First NZ says that any hint of decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people, and the government should maintain the drug’s illegal status.

“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions apparently haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both. Policing burglary and theft also costs money – should we decriminalise that also because the ‘war on burglary’ is failing?” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Proponents also suggest that we could make tax dollars out of decriminalising dope. That flawed argument could be used on the decriminalisation of any drug including P and ecstasy. It also fails to acknowledge the health costs which will result from giving the green light to drugs.”

“Erroneous claims that drug use is a health issue and we are wasting time and resources focusing on the criminal aspect fail to understand that there has been a substantial decline in arrests for cannabis use in New Zealand over the past decade, and that police diversion and Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts have been increasingly used,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It is also ironic that at the same time as we ban synthetic cannabis, and tear the labelling off cigarette packets, price them out of existence, and ban them from being smoked within breathing space of any living creature, supporters of marijuana are peddling the same myths that we believed for far too long about tobacco – that marijuana is harmless.”

“Supporters of decriminalisation would have us believe that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance that gives users little more than a sense of mellow euphoria and hurts no one else. But growers want to sell marijuana with increased potency because it’s more addictive. With increased potency comes increased health risks, greater likelihood of addiction, and the potential gateway in to other and often more harmful drugs.”

“Decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health and public safety, and about our young people. We will then start sending the message that marijuana isn’t that big a deal and that adults got the ‘say no to drugs’ message wrong,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The grass is not always greener.”

Note: Family First is calling for the following:

  • the expansion of research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms (Supported by NZMA)
  • the establishment of an emergency or research program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana before final Ministry of Health approval
  • the Government instruct the Ministry of Health to update the prescribing guidelines for pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines to include Sativex as a medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and to continue to make pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines available to treat serious medical conditions when traditional methods have failed.

ENDS

Don’t Decriminalise Marijuana – Say Nope To Dope

Media Release 2 March 2016
Family First NZ is rejecting calls to decriminalise marijuana, and says that decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people.

“It is ironic that at the same time as we ban synthetic cannabis, and tear the labelling off cigarette packets, price them out of existence, and ban them from being smoked within breathing space of any living creature, supporters of marijuana are peddling the same myths that we believed for far too long about tobacco – that marijuana is harmless.” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Supporters of decriminalisation would have us believe that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance that gives users little more than a sense of mellow euphoria and hurts no one else. But the cannabis now in circulation is many times more powerful than that typically found in the early 1990s, with up to a 25-fold increase in the amount of the main psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC). Naturally, growers want to sell marijuana with increased potency because it’s more addictive. With increased potency comes increased health risks, greater likelihood of addiction, and the potential gateway in to other and often more harmful drugs.”

“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both. Policing burglary and theft also costs money – should we decriminalise that also because the ‘war on burglary’ is failing?” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Colorado is offering a disturbing preview of what may happen if we decriminalise marijuana. A 2014 government report have revealed a sharp increase in pot-related calls to poison control; seizures have quadrupled; deaths have been attributed to marijuana overdoses; neighbouring states are experiencing a surge in pot use; and advertising through every available medium blankets the State, desensitising people to the risks. Perhaps most troubling, the drug is infiltrating Colorado schools, which now have lists of young people waiting to get help. Teens who use pot face nearly twice the risk of addiction as adult users, and juvenile usage increases the brain damage associated with the drug.”

“Erroneous claims that drug use is a health issue and we are wasting time and resources focusing on the criminal aspect fail to understand that there has been a substantial decline in arrests for cannabis use in New Zealand over the past decade, and that police diversion and Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts have been increasingly used.”

“Decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health and public safety, and about our young people. We will then start sending the message that marijuana isn’t that big a deal and that adults got the ‘say no to drugs’ message wrong,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The grass is not always greener.”
ENDS

Don’t Let New Zealand Go To Pot

Media Release 9 January 2016
Family First NZ is rejecting calls by former trade union boss Helen Kelly for marijuana to be legalised, labelling the idea as dopey and dangerous.

However, Family First is sympathetic to the health concerns that Helen Kelly is facing and is supporting further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms and responding to individuals with serious medical conditions where traditional methods have failed.

“Contrary to the marketing of dope by drug advocates, the grass is not always greener. New Zealanders need to be aware of the smoke-screen of ‘medicinal marijuana’. The strategy of groups who want dope legalised is to promote medicinal marijuana which simply manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns. But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to ‘recreational’ purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director.

“Scientists have used the marijuana plant’s primary active ingredient – THC – as a pill form for nausea and appetite stimulation. It may be that there can be the development of non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems. But this should be decided on the basis of thorough clinical trials, as recommended by the US Institute of Medicine.[1] We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue, but we also support a compassionate response to those in real need.”

“We certainly don’t want to go down the Green’s road either. Their medicinal cannabis bill in 2009 – which was soundly defeated – allowed for teenagers to cultivate and smoke cannabis with parental permission, created dope ‘pimps’, and appointed police to be the ‘dealers’. It also deemed medicinal purposes to include depression and mental illness, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, despite research suggesting that marijuana actually exacerbates these conditions,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Supporters of decriminalisation would have us believe that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance that gives users little more than a sense of mellow euphoria and hurts no one else. But the cannabis now in circulation is many times more powerful than that typically found in the early 1990s, with up to a 25-fold increase in the amount of the main psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC). Naturally, growers want to sell marijuana with increased potency because it’s more addictive. With increased potency comes increased health risks, and greater likelihood of addiction.”

“Decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health and public safety, and about our young people,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is calling for the following:

  • the expansion of research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms (Supported by NZMA)
  • the establishment of an emergency or research program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana before final Ministry of Health approval
  • the Government instruct the Ministry of Health to update the prescribing guidelines for pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines to include Sativex as a medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and to continue to make pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines available to treat serious medical conditions when traditional methods have failed.

Further Commentary: Marijuana Use Damaging to Health

Published in the Dominion Post May 2014 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/10041872/Marijuana-use-damaging-to-health
ENDS

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