An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors,
health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum.
“We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together
to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public
health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.
“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay,
welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents,
increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”
“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a
mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
The New Zealand coalition has aligned itself with the prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former
advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) - the only drug policy
staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.
“Our NZ coalition is stoked to be aligned with such a credible organization as SAM. SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory
Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance
public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”