Your Sunday (with Ryan Bridge) Radio Live Sundays 10am – 2pm
This week Ryan debates Bob McCoskrie from Family First on the war drugs and if legalisation is a serious alternative.
Should New Zealand follow Portugal and decriminalise drugs?
Newshub 26 Feb 2017
The architect of Portugal’s drug policy has rejected suggestions from anti-drug campaigners here in New Zealand that decriminalisation doesn’t work.
…Bridge supports decriminalisation, writing in a column for Newshub the ‘War on Drugs’ was over – and law enforcement lost.
Family First chief Bob McCoskrie told RadioLIVE there never had been a war.
“I think there has been a little bit of a battle,” he said, saying there was “no reason” for New Zealand to follow Portugal’s lead.
“What do we mean by decriminalisation? What do we mean by legalisation? They are different, but we would argue they send the same message – either we approve of methamphetamine use and therefore we don’t have a problem with it, and don’t need to discourage it ; or we do need to discourage it, and therefore we need the weight and force of the law.”
He rejected Mr Goulão’s claims use was down, because “legality has a huge effect on consumption”, so consumption surely had risen.
“Marijuana is illegal. The use is minimal compared to smoking”.
And while Mr Goulão doesn’t believe the substance itself was unimportant when it came to helping addicts, Mr McCoskrie sees a huge difference between heroin and methamphetamine, and alcohol.
“It’s very easy for you or I to have a glass of wine together and not have any problems, but if we were to get into methamphetamine, it would be very different,” he explained.
“You just have to talk to any family that has been impacted by P, and they will do anything and everything to keep that drug out of their house and away from their family.”
An argument often made by decriminalisation supporters is that it would take business away from the gangs. Mr McCoskrie says this has not happened anywhere that drugs like marijuana have been decriminalised or legalised.
“Gangs are still making huge money in Colorado [while the] Government is responsible for the social cost of the increased usage.”