Source: The Press (New Zealand)
Copyright: The Christchurch Press Company Ltd.
Pubdate: 18 Dec 1998
Fax: 364-8238
Mail: Private Bag 4722, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Government should review the legal status of cannabis, Parliament's
health select committee has recommended. 

In its report on its inquiry into the mental health effects of cannabis,
tabled in Parliament yesterday, the committee says that the effectiveness
of the present policy on cannabis requires examination, given the high
level of use in New Zealand. 

"It is acknowledged that cannabis prohibition enforced by traditional crime
control methods has not been successful in reducing the apparent number of
cannabis users," the report says. 

"That the police are open-minded on the issue of decriminalisation of
cannabis is an indication that thinking on the subject is changing . . .
Methods other than prohibition certainly deserve consideration." 

The committee concluded that the negative mental health effects of cannabis
appeared to have been overstated. 

Occasional cannabis use posed few risks to the mental health of most adult
users, and the weight of available evidence suggested that even long-term,
heavy use of cannabis did not produce severe or gross impairment of
cognitive function, the committee found. 
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