A few of New Zealand’s most skilled public well being consultants have thrown their assist behind legalising marijuana, per week out from the nation’s common election.
In an editorial within the New Zealand Medical Journal, specialists from the fields of dependancy therapy, public well being, well being promotion and epidemiology have urged New Zealanders to tick sure within the referendum, days after a ballot confirmed the vote on a knife-edge.
The referendum is a “once-in-a-generation alternative” to legalise hashish, and promote well being equality, the editorial stated.
Prof Michael Baker from the College of Otago, one of many key architects of the nation’s profitable Covid-19 response, says New Zealand had proven it was a world chief in utilising “modern and evidence-informed approaches” to advanced public well being issues.
“It’s time to take the identical contemporary method to hashish regulation and put public well being first,” Prof Baker says.
“Our prohibition mannequin for hashish is outdated and doesn’t work. Supporting regulation reform is about reframing hashish use as a well being difficulty which opens up new, simpler methods of minimising harms attributable to this drug.”
Hashish is New Zealand’s mostly used illicit drug.
The newest New Zealand Well being Survey discovered that 15%, or 590,000 New Zealand adults used hashish previously 12 months.
Māori account for 16% of New Zealand’s inhabitants and are proven to be disproportionately affected by New Zealand’s drug legal guidelines, going through thrice as many arrests and prosecutions for possession of hashish than non-Māori.
Professor Papaarangi Reid, the pinnacle of the division of Māori well being on the College of Auckland argues that legalisation would assist management the efficiency of the drug, it’s value and make it much less accessible to younger individuals.
“We’re significantly involved that Māori have borne the brunt of biased enforcement and the destructive well being results of unlawful hashish,” says Reid.
“We all know that Māori are thrice extra prone to be arrested and convicted of a cannabis-related crime than non-Māori with the identical stage of use. That is an unacceptably excessive value to pay, particularly for a coverage that isn’t efficient at decreasing dangerous use.”
Different high-profile figures to assist a sure vote for hashish legalisation embody former prime minister Helen Clark, who has described hashish policing as “the worst waste of tax-payers cash” and devoted important time and assets to marketing campaign for its legalisation.
Nationwide social gathering chief Judith Collins has stated she has by no means tried hashish and will probably be voting no of the referendum. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has stated she has used it “a very long time in the past”, however has not revealed how she intends to vote.