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Media Release

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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Call for Caution On Medicinal Marijuana Laws

Media Release 13 October 2015
Family First NZ is calling for politicians to reject knee-jerk law changes to medicinal marijuana, and wants them to comprehend the concerns around the real agenda behind liberalising drug laws and also the 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 responding to individuals with serious medical conditions where traditional methods have failed.

“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.

“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.

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.”

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 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

Warning Of Smoke Screen Around Medicinal Marijuana

Media Release 15 September 2015
Family First NZ says that a poll suggesting support for medicinal marijuana fails to comprehend the concerns around the real agenda behind liberalising drug laws and also the 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.

“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.

“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.”

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 foolishly 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 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

 

 

 

Medicinal Marijuana Should Be Researched, Not Legalised

Media Release 8 May 2015
Family First NZ says that medicinal marijuana should not be legalised, but is calling for further research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms.

“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.

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 foolishly 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.

The American Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicines, the American Cancer Society, the American Glaucoma Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics all report finding no documented medical value in marijuana. The British Medical Association asserts that marijuana use increases health risks.

Similarly, the US FDA has stated that “no sound scientific studies supported the medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.”[1]

“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.[2] We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue,” 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.

ENDS

[1] See DOJ, DEA, “Lyle E. Craker; Denial of Application,” 74 Fed. Reg. 2101, 2104 (Jan. 14, 2009).

[2] Joy JE et al., Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral

Health. Institute of Medicine. Washington DC, National Academy Press, 1999,

Soft Marijuana Drug Laws Would Damage Youth

Media Release 10 September 2014
Family First NZ says that local research just released showing the harms of marijuana to young people should confirm that any attempts to decriminalise marijuana should be firmly rejected.

The study which included research from the University of Otago’s Christchurch Health and Development Study shows the dangerous outcomes of marijuana use including decreased high school completion and degree attainment, and increased cannabis dependence, use of other illicit drugs, suicide attempts, depression and welfare dependence.

“Decriminalising marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health and public safety, and about our young people,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“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, and that an age limit will protect teenagers.”

Colorado is offering a disturbing preview of what may happen if we decriminalise marijuana. A just-released government report has revealed the drug is infiltrating Colorado schools, which now have lists of young people waiting to get help.

“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,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It is the illegality of the drug that has kept its use low compared to alcohol and tobacco. The restrictions on P, heroin and cocaine will never eliminate them, but they’ve prevented a pandemic.”

“A feeble approach to marijuana use will simply send all the wrong messages to our young people and to our families – that drug use isn’t that big a deal,” says Mr McCoskrie.

In Family First’s Value Your Vote election resource, Conservatives, National, NZ First and United Future all oppose decriminalisation. ACT, Maori, and Greens support decriminalisation. Labour has suggested that it is not one of their policies but seem to support decriminalisation, while Internet/Mana send conflicting messages.
ENDS

Harmful & ‘Potty’ Marijuana Policy From Internet/Mana

Media Release 4 Sep 2014
Family First NZ is rejecting calls by Internet party’s Laila Harre 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, which is apparently their target audience.

“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. The research has clearly busted that myth. And the cannabis now in circulation is many times more powerful than that typically found in the early 1990s,” 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 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 Mr McCoskrie.

Colorado is offering a disturbing preview of what may happen if we decriminalise marijuana. A just-released government report have revealed a sharp increase in pot-related calls to poison control; seizures have quadrupled; two deaths so far are 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, that the maximum sentences set out in drug control statutes are rarely imposed, and offenders rarely receive anything other than a fine and a criminal record. 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.

In Family First’s Value Your Vote election resource, Conservatives, Maori, National, NZ First and United Future all oppose decriminalisation. Labour have also suggested that it is not one of their policies.
ENDS