John Roughan – Cannabis referendum and legalisation

NZ Herald 10 October 2020
Family First Comment: I will probably vote no because the criminal law sends the clearest possible health message without being rigorously enforced. Legalisation sends completely the wrong message, as we saw with party drugs a few years ago. When you legalise something you own it – and you pay for the problems… But worse than criminalisation or legalisation would be a law that is neither one nor the other, that pretends to be legalisation while attempting to restrict a drug more effectively than the criminal law has done. It implies social approval of the substance while trying to keep it in check.

After the dilemma of choosing a government for the hard years ahead and voting no to assisted suicide, it will be almost fun to turn to something as frivolous as cannabis.

I will probably vote no because the criminal law sends the clearest possible health message without being rigorously enforced. Legalisation sends completely the wrong message, as we saw with party drugs a few years ago. When you legalise something you own it – and you pay for the problems.

If drug users are harmed it is self-inflicted harm. I can think of about 100 more worthy calls on my compassion and my taxation.

But worse than criminalisation or legalisation would be a law that is neither one nor the other, that pretends to be legalisation while attempting to restrict a drug more effectively than the criminal law has done. It implies social approval of the substance while trying to keep it in check.

Part of me hopes this referendum supports the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill because it would be amusing to watch Labour and the Greens trying to fight market forces. They would fail and it wouldn’t matter very much, it’s only cannabis.

Maybe they would learn a lesson that would improve their approach to alcohol and tobacco. Many people wonder why we are being invited to legalise a plant for smoking when we are urged to be smoke-free by 2025. The reason is that cannabis offers left-wing politicians and public health professionals a blank canvas for their regulatory designs.

The bill being put to the referendum runs to 150 pages of breathtaking defiance of the laws of supply and demand. The legal market for cannabis would be ruled not by consumers but by a commissariat to be called the Cannabis Regulatory Authority.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/election-2020-john-roughan-cannabis-referendum-and-legalisation/FLXBQIRDOQJM634NVW2XESGQHI/

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