Supporters of cannabis law reform will be gathering at parliament today from 12pm til 1:30pm to start the conversation around cannabis law reform in the led up to our election. Supporters are also appealing to the Police to stop arresting people for cannabis use or possession. Our police have the discretionary powers to achieve drug peace, if they want it.
There are too many cannabis consumers to arrest: over half a million Kiwis regularly break the law on cannabis, including 70,000 on a daily basis!
The NZ Police are already decriminalising by stealth. We want them to make it an official policy so they can get on with solving crime that matters. We need to stop the failed War on Drugs and look at evidence-based alternatives.
NZ Police spent 598,000 hours enforcing the War on Drugs in 2006, at a estimated cost of over $100 million, according to the Law Commission’s 2011 review of the Misuse of Drug Act. Their report found “Responding to the possession and use of drugs occupies a significant amount of police and court time and attention. Personal possession and use offences comprised 69 per cent of the approximately 25,000 drug offences recorded by the Police in 2009.”
New Zealanders also urgently need safe legal access to affordable high quality medical cannabis. The process needs to be made easier. Doctors need assurance they won’t be persecuted for recommending it. Patients need more options than pharmaceutical derivatives like Sativex, such as natural herbal remedies made from cannabis, and the ability to grow their own.
Around 175,000 Kiwis report using cannabis for medicinal purposes - but most of them aren't getting it through their GP and they're using it in the most harmful way due to lack of information and safer products such as balms, edibles, tinctures and the use of vaporizers.
Prominent New Zealanders calling for safe legal access to medical cannabis, and treating cannabis use as a health issue rather than a crime, include: Alison Mau, Marcus Lush, Dr Michelle Dickinson (Nanogirl), New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan, Metiria Turei, Kevin Hague, Damian ‘Conner, Greg O’Connor, Kelvin Davis, Jack Tame, Russell Brown, Anna Osborne, Rose Renton, the late Helen Kelly, Sir Paul Holmes and Martin Crowe, Ross Bell of the New Zealand Drug Foundation.