Media Release 26 Nov 2013
“A weak-kneed approach to marijuana use will simply send all the wrong messages that small amounts of drug use or dealing or growing aren’t that big a deal – the completely wrong message, especially for younger people and families,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Marijuana has 50-70% more cancer-causing material than cigarette smoke, and 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.”
“Supporters of decriminalisation would have us believe that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance that gives users little more than a sense of mellow euphoria and hurts no one else.”
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. And the London Institute of Psychiatry found there was a “very clear link between psychiatric illness and marijuana use”.
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.
“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. But any proposal to go soft on drug use, drug growing and drug dealing at any level should be completely rejected. This view is supported by a strong majority of NZ’ers,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Only one in three NZ’s believe that marijuana should be decriminalised, according to an independent poll. In the poll of 1,000 NZ’ers by Curia Market Research, respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “If an adult wishes to use a drug such as marijuana, they should be able to do so legally.” Only 33% of respondents agreed, with 60% disagreeing and 7% being unsure or refusing to say.
“This independent poll flies in the face of the TV3 The Vote poll which had 72% voting for ‘soft drugs’ to be decriminalised. But their question simply fed the myth that cannabis is a gentle, harmless substance,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“A proposal to go soft on drug use, drug growing and drug dealing at any level should be completely rejected.”
The nationwide poll was carried out in September and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.