Law Commission Report on Drugs ‘Flawed’ and ‘Dopey’

Media Release 3 May 2011
Family First NZ is rejecting recommendations by the Law Commission to soften punishments for drug dealing and personal drug use, labeling the ideas flawed, dangerous and dopey. 

“The ‘softly-softly’ approach has been a spectacular failure in terms of general crime levels. Why would we ever think that it would work with drug abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.   

“A weak-kneed approach to drug use will simply send all the wrong messages that small amounts of drug use or dealing aren’t that big a deal – the completely wrong message, especially for younger people. A cautioning scheme will simply be held in contempt by users, and fails to acknowledge the harm done by drug use which is undetected.” 

“At a time when we finally understand the harms of cigarette smoking, we suddenly think that there is limited harm with marijuana that has 50-70% more cancer-causing material than cigarette smoke, and for which there is strong evidence that it is a gateway drug to harder drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and P. There are also links between drug use and poor educational outcomes, unsafe sexual practices, poor work attendance, and serious mental health issues.” 

“The report is correct to call for better treatment facilities for addiction and mental illness, but a zero-tolerance approach to the use of drugs combined with treatment options is a far better solution,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

A recent UK Government-commissioned report quoted in The Lancet found that a single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent and taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness. 

An Australian study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW found previous drug use is driving the growing use of amphetamines by young adults. 

And a study from the University of Washington published in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that children of smokers, heavy drinkers, or marijuana users are more likely to have behavior problems when they are young, and consequently more likely to have drug problems themselves as they get old. 

The Christchurch Health and Development study found that “dopey driving” was more common than drink-driving. 

“A proposal to go soft on drug use and drug dealing at any level should be completely rejected,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS

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38 comments for “Law Commission Report on Drugs ‘Flawed’ and ‘Dopey’

  1. Marlon Cooper
    3 May 2011 at 1:13 am

    Hey Bob,
    I don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t drink alcohol or coffee, and have never touched man-made drugs. I have never been in trouble with the law. I have studied at university and work six days a week steadily. I pay my tax’s and rates, plus am involved with my local community.
    However, I do occasionally smoke marijuana, and I have many friends like me! Am I a criminal?
    When you weigh up the affects of alcohol against marijuana, I don’t understand why it’s not decriminalized. Alcohol is the real problem.
    I have never met an aggressive marijuana smoker, unlike an alcohol fueled person.
    From what I understand you have Christian beliefs, but have you ever tried marijuana? I would guess not. You really have to try something before you can really judge it. Then you can weigh up the pros and cons.
    Marijuana is completely different to ‘drugs’, and I suggest you do some of your own research before you go on quoting others.
    Look forward to your reply, regards.

  2. Paul
    3 May 2011 at 2:15 am

    More utter nonsense from the same people who have systematically undermined justice in this country – the (liberal) Law Commission.

  3. Bob
    3 May 2011 at 11:31 am

    Gee Marlon – where do I start?!?!

    At a time when we finally understand the harms of cigarette smoking, we suddenly think that there is limited harm with marijuana that has 50-70% more cancer-causing material than cigarette smoke, and for which there is strong evidence that it is a gateway drug to harder drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and P.

    There are also links between drug use and poor educational outcomes, unsafe sexual practices, poor work attendance, and serious mental health issues.

    A recent UK Government-commissioned report quoted in The Lancet found that a single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent and taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.

    An Australian study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW found previous drug use is driving the growing use of amphetamines by young adults.

    And a study from the University of Washington published in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that children of smokers, heavy drinkers, or marijuana users are more likely to have behavior problems when they are young, and consequently more likely to have drug problems themselves as they get old.

    The Christchurch Health and Development study found that “dopey driving” was more common than drink-driving.

  4. James
    3 May 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Fascist McCroskrey wants to run others peoples lives for them. Seig Heil Bob!

  5. Bob
    3 May 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Nope – just want to prevent people from the harms of drugs.

    Are you aware of the harms? See above

  6. zedd
    3 May 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Let’s be serious.. IF you want to reduce drug related harm, you don’t use PROHIBITION as a deterant. All that does is drives it underground & supports GANGS & BLACK-MARKETS. The whole issue of drug use & abuse should be moved to the Health Dept. NOT the Police & Corrections.. Time to WAKE-UP !
    Kia-ora Koutou Katoa

  7. Bob
    3 May 2011 at 10:59 pm

    No let’s do both. Maintain a legal sanction but offer help to those who really do want treatment.

    Based on your argument, perhaps we should decriminalise burglary as well. Otherwise we just drive it underground and support gangs and black markets!!

    Even in countries where it’s legal, there’s still gangs and crime associated.

  8. Marlon Cooper
    4 May 2011 at 12:25 am

    Strong evidence that it’s a gateway drug? Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine are all drugs Bob. Choose your poison.
    I along with many of my friends have used marijuana for some time and have never been attracted to ‘real drugs’ such as ecstasy or P.
    Like a social drinker or an alcoholic, you can’t assume everyone who smokes marijuana abuses its use.
    I could go on, but my time is wasted, as you’ll just copy and paste more quotes, with no real debate.

  9. zedd
    4 May 2011 at 12:53 am

    Thats just ridiculous.. Smoking a joint in the privacy of my own home, who is the victim ?
    If I break into someones house & steal their property, its obvious that there is a victim !
    Which of the Ten Commandments says ‘thou shalt not alter thy conciousness’? OH DEAR !

  10. Bob
    4 May 2011 at 1:20 am

    We’ll keep posting the peer-reviewed research which highlights the gateway aspect, the negative outcomes, the hugely negative and ongoing outcomes for young people, the reason it’s called ‘dope’, and the reason that society should adopt zero tolerance towards drugs.

  11. Bob
    4 May 2011 at 1:23 am

    Smoking a joint in your own home – you’re the victim in your brain and potential addiction and mental health
    Smoking a joint in your own home – if you have any kids, they become victims in terms of being more likely to use drugs
    Smoking a joint in your own home – society becomes victims if you then drive a vehicle, operate a plane,
    The list goes on

  12. zedd
    4 May 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Your ‘arguments’ are pure speculation.
    If prohibition works, why did USA repeal it with Alcohol in the 1930s ? because it caused more crime than it solved !
    Alcohol is by far more harmful to society, than ALL illegal drugs. Do you support CRIMINAL sanctions being placed on use of this DRUG ? Kia-ora

  13. Bob
    4 May 2011 at 5:15 pm

    No – our arguments are research based.

    Alcohol is different because there are safe levels of usage – in fact, even beneficial for health.

    Unlike drugs which are mind-altering and highly addictive. But yes – we are calling for restrictions on our binge drinking culture also, including criminal sanctions for public drunkenness and drink driving

    Cheers

  14. Sam Rimu
    5 May 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Can you please explain to us why you’re deleting posts?
    Everyone has an opinion.

  15. Bob
    5 May 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Sam

    We reserve the right to delete posts which are abusive or offensive. Unfortunately, the debate around drugs has brought out the worst in them. We certainly don’t delete posts we disagree with – you can see that by looking through the site.

  16. Sam Rimu
    5 May 2011 at 9:19 pm

    How about the one regarding Amsterdam, the tax and legislation used there, you deleted that?
    And the one with the video?
    How were they abusive or offensive? Because they weren’t different to your opinion.
    I’ve been reading this page and have seen no such abuse.
    Really let down that there is only one way on this site, Bob’s way or nothing.

  17. Bob
    5 May 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Amsterdam shows what happens when marijuana is available, legally and in abundance. Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most violent cities, and Dutch officials pin the blame on their liberal drug policies. A report by four government ministries finds that drug-related crime places a heavy burden on local authorities and that criminal organizations are increasingly muscling their way into the drug market, using it as a base for international operations.

    Marijuana use is higher among children there than anywhere else in Europe. More Dutch children smoke pot because the social stigma against it has dissipated

  18. Sam Rimu
    5 May 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Where did you copy and paste that from?
    You obviously don’t know the affects of marijuana, and violence is not one of them. I trust you’ve never tried. You cannot say there is a direct correlation between a violent city and it’s marijuana use.

  19. Bob
    5 May 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Association with serious psychotic disorders and assocation with crime

    All clearly documented

    But ultimately it’s called dope for a reason

  20. Sam Rimu
    6 May 2011 at 1:21 am

    What does dope stand for Bob?
    You can ask anyone under 30 or so years old and they’ll tell you dope means something different than what you may think…
    You never answered why you deleted the posts that had no abuse or offensive material.
    Freedom first I say.

  21. 6 May 2011 at 1:50 am

    Sam, you sound like you want to smoke what ever strain you smoke and by all means, live well. But rehabs and prisons see a whole other story everyday. Some get violent on oil and some can’t handle the added poisons in indoor grown. I saw a man run down by another in a car, and killed over tai sticks when I was young. It’s not really the clean business you think it is, and gangs use so called tinnie houses to make kids addicted to ‘P’ by sprinkling it on the weed. Right now, it’s dangerous and lots of kids who would otherwise choose another path are becoming zombies on it, dealers themselves, prostitutes, robbers and even gang members. I too think it’s OK for those who can handle it but I know that’s not what’s going on out there and maybe kids will stay away from a bad thing if the law was tougher. Sometimes, it’s not all about us as a selfish individual. For sometimes it’s about lots of other people.

  22. Sam Rimu
    6 May 2011 at 2:49 am

    One thing I know is that most tinny houses wouldn’t bother sprinkling there expensive P onto something that costs $20 without telling the consumer, that’s a waste, and I’ve been told this by people in the business. It’s unfeasible. Please don’t believe everything you hear in the media.
    I know I would prefer any users to be buying and using in a safe environment, than having to deal with tinny houses and the large amount of money going back into gangs to help fund there criminal activities. Society and times are changing, we can see this in other countries more modernized approach to drug laws.
    Marijuana smoking, growing, and using is not going to stop regardless of firmer penalties. It’s everywhere. And if we as a country can benefit by it’s use by taxing it I’m all for it personally.
    And I will reiterate again that I’ve never seen, met or heard of a violent ‘stoner’. The ones I know of may smoke a joint in there own home, order a pizza, and fall asleep. Much better than having a few too many beers out in town, getting into a fight, and ending up in hospital or court, as we know this is all to common.
    Thank-you for your comment though Julie, and everyone is entitled to an opinion and I respect yours.

  23. 6 May 2011 at 3:56 am

    Thanks Sam for being respectful. Well, as long as you don’t waste your life, I’d be happy. 🙂

  24. Sam Rimu
    8 May 2011 at 2:13 am

    Thanks Julie, but don’t stereotype people who support a change in legislation. Not everyone who supports a change smokes marijuana, and if they do it doesn’t make them a waster.
    Food for thought.

  25. Massoud
    9 May 2011 at 3:00 am

    We live in a society, due to historical and cultural associations, that has always seen some mind-altering drugs such as prescription pills, alcohol and tobacco, perfectly acceptable, and others, like marijuana, unacceptable, despite the fact that over 50% of the population has tried it and not become raving lunatics. There is no logical reason why marijuana is not on the same legal playing field as these other drugs except for historical reasons, the personal agendas of special interest groups, lily-livered politicians, “moral” campaigners and health statistic fanatics.
    And more about drugs: the use of such emotive terms in our society as the “War on Drugs”, has legally led in such countries like the United States to more loss of civil and individual rights in the last thirty years than any other reason put together. As the “War on Terror” has led to renewed torture and civil liberty abuses in a war that can never be won, so the hyped-up “War on Drugs” has led to the same loss of liberty and also can never be won.
    It never can be won! Despite the millions spent since when I was a teenager(80s), the criminalisation of thousands, and resources occupied in this futile attempt to get ride of dope, the stuff is as available now, or more so, than then.
    We as a society also allow the marketing, promoting, and self-serving use of pharmaceutical drugs foistered on the gullible public for the sheer profit of corporations. In short:we are drugged to the eyeballs legally, and you expect people to not see the hypocritical double standard imposed by marijuana prohibition? Especially young people?
    So, when police are armed, doors are being smashed open, citizens being given criminal records and put in our bursting prisons, more millions budgeted for drug busts,will the plants be gone? No, like weeds they are always present. But our civil liberty is slowly going, and will not return.

  26. Gaylene
    9 May 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Maussod, I am interested to know if you believe cigarette smoking is bad for your health? I guess there is not enough evidence of that for you to be convinced eh? How sad…

  27. Gaylene
    9 May 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I have watched a beautiful young man, full of life and joy with heaps of abilities and friends, turn into a shambling mess PURELY THROUGH SMOKING DOPE when he was a young teen! He is one step away from losing it mentally and the damage to his physical health is enormous. He is constantly in debt, unemployable because he is too unreliable, and beginning to show signs of psychosis. Yeh, let’s legalise it eh? The penalties against its use and supply should be raised and there should be a real fear of being caught with it – not the weak-kneed approach by the Police and Courts that is tantamont to a ‘slap with a wet bus ticket’ as the saying goes.

  28. Lis
    10 May 2011 at 3:01 am

    What can I say? Try living in a street that has a drug house in it. See an endless string of youth ambling in to get their next fix. Feel uneasy about going out as burgleries rise in your area, due to ‘clients’ needing to pawn items off to the dealer to fill their dependency. Feel sick to your stomach knowing that preschoolers live in that house. See the false deception that the perpetrators have blanketed themselves with, that what they are doing is their business, and that they are ‘clever’ and above the law. By the way dope stands for-
    D-eceived
    O-bfuscate
    P-allid
    E-gotistical
    For those who uphold their right to use marijuana -try a Thesaurus if you don’t know what these words mean, and no it’s not a star sign 🙂

  29. zedd
    11 May 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I always find it interesting to read these type of blogs. People saying Alcohol & Tobacco are OK, but ‘Drugs’ are bad. Hey people Alcohol & Tobacco are also drugs. Most law reformers just want an level playing field.

    The majority of ‘issues’around drugs : gangs, theft, over crowed prisons & even mental health issues are really as a result of PROHIBITION. As I said above, the drug issue should come under the health dept. who see treatment as the solution.. NOT PRISON, where drugs are still available & many young people end up worse than when they went in. Kia-ora

  30. Bob
    11 May 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Who said tobacco was ok. And aren’t we heading towards prohibition on that?

    A level playing field is only applicable where the outcomes are similar. For many, alcohol is not harmful. For young people and binge drinkers, it’s hugely harmful.

    Any use of drugs referred to in this report is harmful.

  31. zedd
    11 May 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Can’t agree Bob.
    All drugs (including Alcohol) can be harmful, but taking extreme views & saying things like “Lock ’em all up”. “Prohibition is the only solution” etc. etc. is just wearing blinkers. I think this report is saying one thing.. time to remove the blinkers & take another look. Kia-ora

  32. Bob
    11 May 2011 at 5:15 pm

    It’s actually saying ‘get a balance’

    Maintain the legal sanctions BUT offer better treatment opportunities for those who genuinely want help. A win-win situation.

  33. Peace
    12 May 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Alcoholics don’t blame the booze…
    As marijuana smokers don’t blame the plant or a law change.
    It’s up to oneself to moderate there usage in anything they do…
    Cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, sex…
    Everyone is accountable for there own actions.

  34. Peace
    12 May 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Laughable…
    The real cancer to our society is meth – P.
    And if God is perfect, I guess marijuana was no mistake.
    I don’t trust anything man-made.
    Peace.

  35. Bob
    12 May 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Interesting that the green party voted AGAINST making P a Class A drug!

  36. Peace
    13 May 2011 at 12:21 am

    So because the Green Party voted that way, all marijuana smokers support there decision?
    You’re very stereotypical Bob. Not every marijuana smoker supports man-made or other drugs.
    Just because they voted that way, doesn’t mean all smokers think that way.
    I support P being made a Class A drug.

  37. Bob
    13 May 2011 at 2:04 am

    Just highlights their lack of logic when it comes to drug policy

  38. zedd
    17 May 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Genesis 1:12 “and the earth brought forth GRASS,& HERB yielding seed after its kind.. & GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD ! (therefore God created Cannabis)

    Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street.. was the tree of Life.. the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.. (some have suggested this tree is also Cannabis).

    God created it.. Man outlawed it WHY ??

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