Media Release 12 April 2013
Family First NZ is labeling statements by Greens co-leader Metiria Turei regarding the benefits to Maori of growing marijuana as dangerous and dopey, but expected from the Greens.
“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. “Ms Turei also attempts to mitigate the real harm that personal consumption of the drug actually does.”
“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 such as the Green party 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.
“What the Green party should be calling for is ‘real skills’ that are legal and beneficial, and horticulture and entrepreneurial skills that benefit families and children – not put them at further risk for addiction and mental illness. A zero-tolerance approach to the use of drugs is a far better solution. To label drug growing as an ‘initiative’ is just plain dopey,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“A proposal to go soft on drug use, drug growing and drug dealing at any level should be completely rejected.”