Is it time to legalise Cannabis?

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In 1978, in the isolated bush regions of the Coromandel an intense drug raid was conducted by the police vice squad. The target was an adult male cannabis grower living with his female partner and her five children. The macro influencers to criminalise cannabis came from the medical professions wanted to control drug use and distribution. In Britain there was concern over opium poisonings and towards the end of the 19th century doctors began to identify addiction, in particular opium addiction, as a disease. (Phillips, 2013) The adoption of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 was due to international pressure rather than any issues or concern about drugs in NZ. The act was “designed to bring New Zealand into line” (Phillips, 2013. pp 2) with the global perspective on drugs. At a macro level it was not until the mid-1960’s that law enforcement focused on cannabis in NZ. This was brought about by global social changes in the 60’s and 70’s, with the ‘hippie’ revolution influencing a change in social attitudes towards drugs. (Phillips, 2013) Despite the position of macro institutions of the justice system and the government, from a micro perspective by the 1970’s cannabis was a social reality in NZ evidenced by the advent of ‘head’ shops selling drug paraphernalia and drug related publications presenting articles on cultivation and how to grow without being detected. (Phillips, 2013) In 2010 the Ministry of Health reported that in NZ 49% of New Zealanders between the ages of 16 and 64 had used cannabis, showing that the cannabis culture is a part of NZ’s culture. Approximately 385 000 or 14.6% of New Zealanders had reported using cannabis during 2007. It was estimated that in total 38% of drug enforcement resources were dedicated to cann... ... middle of paper ... ...from punitive to preventative. Works Cited Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. http://www.alcp.org.nz/ Law Commission. (2010). Regulating and Controlling Drugs. Retrieved from http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/2010/02/Publication_143_455_IP16%20-%20Controlling%20and%20Regulating%20Drugs.pdf Ministry of Health. (2010). Drug Use in New Zealand: Key Results of the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/drug-use-new-zealand-key-results-2007-08-new-zealand-alcohol-and-drug-use-survey Phillips, J. (2013). Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Drugs - Colonial drug-taking. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/drugs/page-1 Statistics New Zealand. (2014). Drug Crime in 2012. Retrieved from http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/yearbook/society/crime/drug-crime.aspx

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