Pubdate: Sat, 02 Jun 2001
Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2001 The Dominion
Author: Dave Moore


Sir, -- The editorial Young people going to pot (May 14) was correct
in the assertion that the appeal of cannabis to young people is partly
peer pressure, partly from the lure of forbidden fruit, partly from
doing what is cool.

The odds are tilted against some young people by their dope-smoking

It is also true that cannabis is alarmingly easy to come by. It is,
however, quite misleading to suggest that changing the legal status of
cannabis would "place in the way another obstacle to growing up".

In fact, the reverse is true. Cannabis is entwined in youth culture.
The current law not only fails to protect our children, it does
irreparable harm to many young people.

For older more conservative folk, the current illegal status changes
the way they perceive and respond to cannabis use.

This creates additional harmful outcomes, such as fractured families
and limited education, employment and travel opportunities. The social
cost of denying the reality of cannabis is enormous.

Clearly, prohibition makes the situation worse.

If we are serious about reducing the risk faced by young New
Zealanders we must stop labelling them criminals for behaviour no
worse than drinking alcohol. Cannabis is a choice not a crime.

Aotearoa Legalise
Cannabis Party
Island Bay
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