Decriminalise and Legalise Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis in New Zealand
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The current New Zealand laws require that access to cannabis is strictly controlled, making it near impossible to obtain for those who need it. Medical Marijuana is currently only available for certain and very rare cases prescribed by doctors. This legalisation only occurred after a mother fought to have marijuana medically legalised for her son who suffered from an extreme form of epileptic seizures. Medicinal marijuana is not openly available to those who suffer from chronic pain, addictions or mental illnesses.
Recreational cannabis and cannabis products are illegal and the penalty would be up to 3 months imprisonment and $500 fine for possession, and up to 8 years and an $1000 fine for supplying or manufacturing. What this means is that it is currently illegal for any person to use, grow, or distribute any class of drugs, including cannabis which is a controlled Class C drug, regardless of their reason, medical or not. This is along with a life-long criminal record for a drug that poses a moderate risk. According to the New Zealand Police policy, drugs which pose a moderate risk of harm are classified as Class C drugs.
We are two students of Wellington Girls’ College and we have created this petition to send to the current Minister of Health and the Member of Parliament for Wellington Central, to rethink their stance on legalising Marijuana in New Zealand both medicinally and for recreational use. New Zealand could greatly profit from the legalisation of Cannabis through taxes, general wellbeing and health of our communities. People would not be charged with a crime for possessing this Class C drug and would not have to face a fine or a permanent criminal record. We believe that marijuana does not pose a moderate risk, with no known overdoses in recorded history, making it one of the safest drugs.
This would allow them to work and contribute to society without being jailed and resulting in a cost of $250 per day for the tax payer, according to the New Zealand Drug Foundation. Between the years of 2007 and 2011, 12,895 of minors aged 25 and under were jailed for minor drug offenses, costing the country $20 million. That is not to mention the $59 million that went towards imprisoning people over 25.
Our country would be able to benefit from the taxation revenue that the legalisation would bring. Should it be legalised, cannabis would be taxed as a 'demerit good', like cigarettes or alcohol. This could benefit New Zealand by potentially bringing in up to $70 - $150 million in tax.
In conclusion, by signing this petition, you could help many patients suffering from chronic and mental illnesses which need to be addressed. By signing this petition, you could also help avoid spending unnecessary money by jailing everyday people who do not deserve a criminal record.
Ellie Cornish and Ellie smith
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