INDEPENDENT NEWS

Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform launched

Published: Mon 14 Aug 2000 11:39 AM
Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform launched
A new Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform (CCLR) brings together a range of groups and individuals with an interest in progressing cannabis law reform through parliament.
The Coalition seeks to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use in New Zealand by opposing its prohibition and promoting effective drug education and treatment.
“The objectives agreed by the CCLR members create strong agreement amongst the groups that have previously worked toward drug law reform in isolation of each-other. It forms a strong alliance of political will and determination to see parliamentary action in the short term and the delivery of law designed to send a consistent and realistic message about cannabis use,” said Les Gray, education psychologist and associate spokesperson for CCLR.
“This is a debate that demands the close attention of all New Zealanders. The failure of prohibition law has been monumental, with the reported use of cannabis increasing from 43 percent in 1990 to 52 percent in 1998. * It is time for informed debate about the real issues including the expulsion from school of 1902 students last year, 996 of whom are Maori, for drug related offences.”
Les Gray said, “Until such time as the legal status of cannabis is reviewed, thorough and honest drug education delivered to young people and the supply of cannabis is regulated, the problems associated with cannabis will only get worse.
“Now is the time for genuine action on the part of the government. The Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform will provide a renewed impetus for informed debate and a rational counter point to the hysterical "reefer madness" outbursts which have often
characterised this essential political and social issue” he added.
ends
For further information please contact:
Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform Spokesperson
Les Gray Ph: 09 436 2349 Email: plgray@igrin.co.nz
*Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit
Background Note
The Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform has been formed to achieve informed debate and legislative progress designed to remove the illegal status of cannabis. Supporting organisations include representatives from various cannabis law reform groups, community organisations, political parties and members of parliament. We are working in cooperation with the Drug Policy Forum Trust and a wide range of individuals and community representatives equally committed to cannabis law reform.
Those people are representative of Aotearoa New Zealand and include nurses, students, teachers and mental health professionals. Members of Parliament who understand the essential aspects of this debate and the importance of political action have also joined the Coalition.
MISSION STATEMENT
We seek to reduce the harm associated with cannabis use in New Zealand by advocating law and policy reform which leads to effective drug education and treatment and ends the prohibition of cannabis
“We seek law change which will -
 Reduce the harms associated with the use of cannabis amongst New Zealanders
 End the criminalisation of cannabis users
 Dramatically increase spending on effective cannabis health education, counselling and treatment
 Promote policy that places priority on reducing problematic cannabis use, such as by pregnant women, amongst young people, people with mental illness and in the workplace
 Control the economic power of the cannabis market
 Allow adults to grow, obtain and possess cannabis for their own personal use, including medical use, within the law

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