Legalizing Marijuana and Hemp in New Zealand
Drug related harms and the costs to society remain high in New Zealand, with a growing consensus that the current enforcement led approach is not working.
- We have one of the highest rates of use in the world: 52% of New Zealanders aged 15 – 45 admit to having used cannabis at some time, and 16% describe themselves as current users.
- Use rose more than 20% from 1990 to 1998, a period of tougher laws and increased arrests.
- The 2012 United Nations 2012 Drug Report confirmed we are still among the top pot users in the world.
- There are too many cannabis consumers to arrest: over half a million Kiwis regularly break the law on cannabis, including 70,000 on a daily basis!
Government action is needed “now, more than ever” to consider all the alternatives to our failing drug laws and learn from countries that have adopted a more evidence based approach. We are concerned that, in this age of austerity, nobody is checking whether New Zealands’s current approach is value for money – or money wasted. We therefore call on the Government to commission an authoritative and independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 within the next 12 months, in order to provide the evidence for Parliament to pursue a more effective drugs policy in the future.