Media Release 4 July 2017
Family First NZ has launched a new website to inform families about the agenda to liberalise laws around marijuana and other drugs, and to help them speak up in the public debate.
SayNopeToDope.org.nz has the latest research, news items, Family First media releases, and also links to other overseas websites also opposing the liberalisation or legalisation of dope.
“Any hint of decriminalising recreational marijuana use is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people, and the government should maintain the drug’s illegal status,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“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?”
“It is 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,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Ministry of Justice statistics debunk claims by supporters of weakening laws around marijuana that hundreds of people are being locked up for petty drug offences each year. 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’. It will be difficult to meet somebody who says they’ve been behind bars for smoking a joint, and that’s their only crime,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Dr Gregory Pike, the Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture who spoke in NZ in 2015 says:
“In recent years, several US states have legalised marijuana for recreational purposes. This has happened after many years of legal access to marijuana as medicine in those same states. The reason the transition was anticipated is because changing the image of cannabis by promoting it as medicine is powerful. There doesn’t need to be much nuance in the idea that medicines are good and abstracted from that nasty business of “illicit drugs”. The latter wreck lives whereas the former heal people. The image change gets into the collective consciousness and people start to think differently, gradually allowing a medical paradigm to overtake even strong contrary evidence of harm.”
However, Family First is supporting the government’s current approach of allowing seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health via their doctor, and further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms.