INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cannabis Cafes Best Answer To 'Speed' Problem

Published: Fri 20 Dec 2002 11:01 AM
Cannabis Cafes Best Answer To 'Speed' Problem
The Government's intention to reclassify methamphetamine ('P' or 'burn') as a Class A drug shows little understanding about how minimise the demand for the drug, said NORML New Zealand President Chris Fowlie today.
"The best thing the government can do to minimise the abuse of hard drugs is to regulate cannabis and allow Dutch-style cannabis cafes", he said.
"It is the shared illegal status of both drugs that creates this link between people who just want to smoke a joint, and dealers who want to sell them something else. Separating cannabis users from hard drug dealers will, over time, cause a drop in demand for hard drugs as ordinary people would no longer be offered them or would know where to get them."
Mr Fowlie recently returned from a fact-finding mission to the Netherlands where licensed cafes have been allowed to sell cannabis to adults for thirty years. The Dutch government recognised that the de-facto legalisation of cannabis had successfully broken the link between hard drugs like 'speed' and heroin and soft drugs such as cannabis. Dutch rates for use of both cannabis and heroin are way below those in New Zealand, and dropping further, he said.
"In Holland, the rules are clear and strictly enforced - no minors, no public nuisance, and no other drugs. In a cannabis cafe, you're out the door if you even mention hard drugs", Mr Fowlie said. "Cannabis smokers in Dutch 'coffeeshops' would never see or be offered hard drugs."
"Cannabis should be legalised, it's sale regulated and the $25 million spent by Police every year chasing cannabis smokers better used closing methamphetamine labs" said Mr Fowlie.

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