Pubdate: Mon, 16 May 2011 Source: Bay Of Plenty Times (New Zealand) Copyright: 2011 Bay Of Plenty Times Contact: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/feedback/letters-to-the-editor/ Website: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2926 Author: Stephen McIntyre DOPE BAN MISFIRES Re: Legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes (News, May 9). Dale Kirk from MethCon believes that anything which makes it easier for young people to get their hands on drugs "is not helpful". In NZ, cannabis prohibition has led to the presence of at least one "tinny shop" in each neighbourhood; most high schools have one located close by. A 15-year-old in this country has a much easier time buying cannabis than alcohol because tinny shops don't card their customers. If MethCon was truly interested in decreasing levels of drug use amongst teenagers it would support Portuguese drug policy. Since the Portuguese decriminalised all drugs in 2001, drug consumption amongst 13 to 15-year-olds decreased by a quarter, from 14.1 per cent in 2001 to 10.6 per cent in 2006. Amongst 16 to 18-year-olds, illegal drug-use rates - which increased from 14.1 per cent in 1995 to 27.6 per cent in 2001 prior to decriminalisation - decreased after decriminalisation to 21.6 per cent in 2006. Kirk's claim that allowing sick and dying Kiwis to use medical cannabis with their doctor's approval will be bad for young people is a complete and utter red herring. He should stick to the facts. Stephen McIntyre Mt Albert - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.