Drug foundation has agenda

LETTER

How is it that the so-called “independent” NZ Drug Foundation, dominantly coalition government-funded to the tune of more than $1.5 million a year, champions legalisation of marijuana?

The foundation conspicuously avoids publishing World Health Organisation data which shows the rate of suicide in Portugal doubled from 7.4 to 14 per 100,000 following decriminalisation in July 2001. In the same period, since 1995, NZ’s suicide rate has declined 20 percent, ranking NZ as 53rd in the world — sadly of little consolation.

Cabinet papers tabled by Justice Minister Andrew Little on May 7 highlighted the harm from the use of cannabis, listing increased risk of developing depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, dependence, lung damage, driver impairment, offending, and other social issues.

How can the coalition government possibly contemplate a referendum to legalise marijuana? This at a time when it has just budgeted $1.9 billion over five years for mental health.

If this Government is serious about “wellbeing” then it must reconsider its position on holding such a referendum. By all means respond to drug dependence and depression with the support of therapeutic care, but let’s not flood this care service by legalising marijuana.

Deane Smart, Farm Cove, Howick

Footnote from Ed: The NZ Drug Foundation is a registered charity which was established in 1989 by doctors. It has actively promoted a public health approach to all drugs (alcohol, tobacco and illicit) under every government since then.

How is it that the so-called “independent” NZ Drug Foundation, dominantly coalition government-funded to the tune of more than $1.5 million a year, champions legalisation of marijuana?

The foundation conspicuously avoids publishing World Health Organisation data which shows the rate of suicide in Portugal doubled from 7.4 to 14 per 100,000 following decriminalisation in July 2001. In the same period, since 1995, NZ’s suicide rate has declined 20 percent, ranking NZ as 53rd in the world — sadly of little consolation.

Cabinet papers tabled by Justice Minister Andrew Little on May 7 highlighted the harm from the use of cannabis, listing increased risk of developing depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, dependence, lung damage, driver impairment, offending, and other social issues.

How can the coalition government possibly contemplate a referendum to legalise marijuana? This at a time when it has just budgeted $1.9 billion over five years for mental health.

If this Government is serious about “wellbeing” then it must reconsider its position on holding such a referendum. By all means respond to drug dependence and depression with the support of therapeutic care, but let’s not flood this care service by legalising marijuana.

Deane Smart, Farm Cove, Howick

Footnote from Ed: The NZ Drug Foundation is a registered charity which was established in 1989 by doctors. It has actively promoted a public health approach to all drugs (alcohol, tobacco and illicit) under every government since then.

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John Fricker - 3 months ago
Good for the NZ Drug Foundation. It's wrong. All this daft government has to do is take a look at what is happening to states in the US that have recently legalised/decriminalised cannabis. It isn't working out quite as expected, why not learn from the mistakes of others?
Today's cannabis is up to 10 times more potent than it was in the '60s. Just because a thing is too hard (drug control) that isn't a reason to abandon it. Imagine might have happened 75 years ago today if the Normandy Landings had been deemed "too hard"?
Toughen up snowflakes.

A Daily Reader - 3 months ago
There are so many mental health issues that go hand in hand with weed, but it is the huge elephant in the room in this country. Not OK in my home ever, even if our flaky Government tries to tell us it's acceptable.