26 June 2000
SHOCKING CHILD CANNABIS USE FIGURES – POLITICIANS MUST NOT LEGALISE CANNABIS
Gael Donoghue, Christian Heritage Party Health spokesperson, says that new statistical and pharmacological evidence and
information reinforce the belief that politicians ought not to liberalise Cannabis legislation in New Zealand.
Early findings from a large Regional Public Health survey conducted this month (over 4,600 children) throughout
Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast show at least 30% of children aged 11 to 17, and up to 70% regularly using cannabis, started
before age 15. This is similar to a Christchurch survey released in May finding nearly 70% of people had used cannabis
by age 21 and 9% were now dependent, with 23% of the 1265 participants estimated use 100 times since age 14. Most of the
children in the Wellington study said they were getting the drug from fellow students, dealers or someone outside the
family. 10% said they got it from a family member or caregiver, and about 14% grew it!
The deputy Prime Minister announced recently that a physical survey of staff at a Forestry investment company reported
73% of the staff were affected by cannabis. He favours a major education programme. The Christian Heritage Party
supports this and has been advocating it for a long time said Mrs Donoghue.
Many schools around the country are inviting politicians to see for themselves the horrendous adverse effects that
cannabis is having on the children. Already the effect of politicians merely publicly stating liberal attitudes is
sending the wrong messages to our young people.
Professor Dr Greenfield, director of Britain’s Royal Institution and professor of neuropharmacology (studying effects of
drugs on the brain), says each person is the configuration of their brain cells – drugs are specifically designed to
alter that configuration. So when one blows one’s mind on drugs, one is really blowing one’s mind – some damage may be
irreversible. Children especially need to know this. Mrs Donoghue decries the attempt to legalise cannabis use except
for medicinal purpose, pointing out that it is very potent – eg it takes 0.31 milligrams to induce the same effect on
the brain as 7000 milligrams of alcohol.
“There is much other evidence available also to explain the risks of cannabis ‘recreational’ use on children and adults,
including the severe effect on those with established psychiatric diagnoses,” she said.
Mrs Donoghue notes that Health Minister Annette King wants the Cannabis Issue to be reviewed by Parliament’s multiparty
Health Committee. National proposed partial decriminalisation, Helen Clark has proposed instant fines for possession
(small amounts) and Greens decriminalisation for possession for personal use.
The Christian Heritage Party continues to hold fast to opposing decriminalisation of marijuana legislation, for clear
scientific, pharmacological, community health, road safety and moral reasons, and urges all politicians to do so in
light of the continuing information and statistics supporting this view becoming available.
Contact: Mrs Gael Donoghue on (06) 347 6000 or (025) 514 980
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766