Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2016
Source: Morning Bulletin, The (Australia)
Copyright: APN News & Media Ltd 2016


NEW Zealand Prime Minister John Key says decriminalising cannabis 
would send the wrong message to young people.

A new poll shows almost 65% of New Zealanders want personal 
possession of cannabis decriminalised or made legal and only 16% 
believe use of cannabis for pain relief should be illegal.

Even among voters who support the more conservative ruling National 
party there is majority support for the law on personal possession to 
be reformed.

But Mr Key told radio station Newstalk ZB yesterday that he did not 
think changing the law would be a wise move.

"My longstanding view, whether you like it or not, has been that I 
think it sends the wrong message to youngsters," he said. "I think 
there are potentially health implications from sustained use."

While acknowledging other countries had moved to decriminalise 
possessing small amounts of cannabis, such a move was not on the 
government's agenda, Mr Key said.

Labour has indicated it could hold a referendum on decriminalising 
cannabis and National will shortly review how harshly people are 
dealt with for low-level drug offences.

Current penalties range from a $500 fine for possession to a 14-year 
jail term for its supply and manufacture.

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