John Key crushes dreams by refusing to decriminalise cannabis

John Key has revealed that there is no chance of a law change in relation to cannabis following a review into the possibility of personal and or medicinal cannabis usage in New Zealand, believing that it sends the wrong message to the nation’s youth. 

An article in the ODT noted John Key mentioned his underlying “view, whether you like it or not, has been that I think it sends the wrong message to youngsters.”

The NORML Organisation, which seeks to end cannabis prohibition in New Zealand, specified that New Zealand’s current guidelines were shown to be cruel and unnecessarily tough after terminally-ill cancer patient Helen Kelly failed to qualify for the special exemption required under the current law. 

The announcement goes against public sentiment on the issue, with The Drug Foundation’s poll showing 64 percent of respondents to their poll “think possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use should be either legal (33 percent) or decriminalised (31 percent).” The same poll found 82 percent of people supported the use of medicinal marijuana.

“This is the first time we’ve seen such a strong majority in favour of reforming New Zealand’s drug law. This tells us voters are ready for change even if lawmakers aren’t,” according to Ross Bell, NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director.

While discussing this issue on The Paul Henry Show on Monday, Key acknowledged the international trend on decriminalisation, but remained sure of his position throughout. 

Twenty three American states have laws currently in place allowing some level of medicinal usage, as well as fourteen states having decriminalised personal use. Additionally, Uruguay and Portugal have decriminalised cannabis, preferring to address drug use from a health perspective in comparison to a criminal justice perspective.

Labour Party leader, Andrew Little spoke earlier in the year about how they would decriminalise medicinal cannabis quickly after taking office, a move that is seemingly in touch with a large proportion of the public. 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2016.
Posted 10:28am Sunday 21st August 2016 by Joe Higham.