Media Release 23 May 2018
Family First NZ says that the Government is right to be nervous about the fallout from a referendum on marijuana legalisation for recreational use, and the possible effect on their voter support.
“Labour are looking at the possibility of stinging the taxpayer with a $10-15m referendum bill by holding the referendum vote next year because it is concerned about the effect politically of the referendum being held at the same time as the 2020 General Election as originally proposed in the coalition agreement with the Greens. And they are right to be concerned,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Families simply don’t want marijuana plants being grown next door by dope dealers in view of the children, tinnie houses on street corners and pot shops in local shopping areas, an increase in drugged driving, or marijuana being disguised as lollies and edibles as has happened overseas. Colorado, for example, has more marijuana businesses than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.”
“Legalising marijuana and the rise of Big Marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people. There are too many health risks including the effect of marijuana on cognitive ability, cardiac function and psychosis.”
“It remains highly 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. But of course, a new business market is all very exciting – especially one based on addiction. Could our current mental health services cope? They can’t even cope now.”
Past chair of the NZMA Dr Stephen Child exposes the paradox that New Zealand finds itself in right now. “How can we tout ‘Smokefree 2025’ while we discuss legalising an inhaled product with more than 100 harmful substances?”
“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?”
The Vote Compass survey run by TVNZ rebuts the spurious and vested interest claims made by NORML and the Drug Foundation that NZ’ers want marijuana laws liberalised. An independent 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll last July also showed New Zealanders equally divided over the issue.
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’.
“The simple message to Labour and NZ First is – don’t let NZ go to pot. The grass is not always greener.”
www.SayNopeToDope.nz will inform families about the attempts to legalise marijuana, and to help them speak up in the public debate.