Pubdate: Sat, 12 Oct 2013
Source: Timaru Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2013 Timaru Herald


The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party's leader believes new laws 
regulating synthetic cannabinoids mean the "dam is about to break" 
for cannabis legalisation.

Party leader Michael Appleby was in Timaru yesterday on his way to 
party's annual conference in Dunedin.

"We've been around years.

"We actually held our first ever conference in Timaru. I don't think 
we're a ginger group.

"Every little push we make has got our views closer to the mainstream."

He said the recently passed Psychoactive Substances Act, which 
regulates the sale and supply of synthetic cannabinoids, was a step 
in the right direction.

"We just want a similar legal framework for cannabis. It is far 
better to have legal highs than synthetic lows."

Mr Appleby said the opening of the Cannabis Museum in Dunedin last 
week was also a chance for people not aware of the drug's history to 
get a broader perspective.

"Slowly, people are coming around to our way of thinking. Sixteen 
years ago, there was no access to medicinal marijuana, and there was 
no hemp industry."

Cannabis use in New Zealand is still illegal, with the substance 
classed as a Class B or C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

Last year, a Law Commission report called for a mandatory cautioning 
scheme for all personal possession and use offences, removing minor 
drug offenders from the criminal justice system and providing greater 
opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it.

"These weren't long-haired radicals.

"These were pretty straight old men," Mr Appleby said.

"Like all drugs, there are health issues with cannabis, but you can't 
address them properly unless you legalise it. We're getting closer to 
that point.

"The dam is about to break."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom