Media Release 24 July 2018
Family First NZ is rejecting calls for the laws on marijuana to be changed, and warns that the polling by drug advocates is failing to ask crucial questions.
“What this poll does confirm is that the public are nowhere near settled on this issue – and they are right to be cautious. 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. We should have learned our lessons from the harms of Big Tobacco. There are too many health risks including the effect of marijuana on cognitive ability, cardiac function and psychosis,” 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, or marijuana being disguised as lollies and edibles as has happened overseas. Colorado, for example, has more marijuana businesses than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.”
“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,” says Mr McCoskrie.
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.”
“Of course, a new business market is all very exciting – especially one based on addiction.”
“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. 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.”
The questions the polls should be asking are:
- Are you aware of the health risks including the effect of marijuana on cognitive ability, cardiac function and psychosis?
- Do you want marijuana plants next door to your family home in view of the children?
- Are you happy with ‘tinnie houses’ on your street corner and in your local shopping areas?
- Are you happy with stoned drivers on the road, and driving heavy machinery?
- As a taxpayer, are you happy to fund the ongoing costs of marijuana legalisation in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, healthcare treatment, addiction recovery, preventative work, and education programmes for teenagers & young adults, especially when studies show that the brains of 25-30 y/o’s are still developing – and can still be harmed by dope.
“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.
An independent 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll a year ago showed New Zealanders equally divided over the issue.
“While Family First welcomes a cautious approach based on extensive research and appropriate safeguards around medicinal marijuana, any hint of legalising marijuana is the wrong path,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Don’t let NZ go to pot. The grass is not always greener.”