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.