READER REPORT:

We need new cannabis legalisation for our personal freedom

RICK KIESSIG
Last updated 09:52 13/10/2016
Medicine without the high

"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging…than the use of the drug itself": ex-US president Jimmy Carter.

Should New Zealand legalise cannabis?

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New Zealand should fully legalise cannabis.

Health freedom, including the ability to choose what we put into our bodies, is central to any free society.

Cannabis freedom would allow New Zealand to divert funds currently spent on cannabis-related policing, courts and imprisonment to more helpful services such as addiction treatment.

It is also likely to reduce health care costs nationwide.

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Cannabis is much less damaging than either alcohol or tobacco. Why should we treat it differently? Tax commercial distribution, if we must, but making it illegal is both immoral and nonsensical.

Cannabis has significant positive health benefits for conditions ranging from cancer to chronic pain, anxiety disorders and much more.

Medical researchers have proven this beyond doubt in a wide range of studies over the last few decades.

Not only does the raw plant have benefits, so do various extracts.

Cannabidiol-based (CBD), THC-free preparations (such as CBD oil) often don’t even induce a high, and are still helpful for a number of conditions.

Cannabis freedom would position New Zealand to be an innovator in cannabis-related products, treatments and research. This would not only benefit Kiwis, but potentially millions of others, worldwide – economically and from a health and prosperity perspective, as well.

Concerns about the potential for cannabis abuse are overstated. As residents of Colorado in the States have seen, the incidence of drug abuse actually declined after legalisation.

Rules around being intoxicated while driving or at work should be the same as they are for alcohol; there’s no reason to differentiate.

Since cannabis is already widely used in New Zealand already, in spite of it being illegal, full legalization would mean reducing the number of criminals in the country, as well as those who supply them.

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Full legalisation: less crime, more health options, more personal freedom, better use of public resources, more long-term economic options – it’s the moral choice, the right choice.

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