New leadership for cannabis law reform campaign

New Zealand’s longest-running cannabis law reform group, the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ), elected Stephen McIntyre as President at its 2010 Conference, held in Auckland last weekend.

Mr McIntyre (45) has been a teacher for more than twenty years. He is married, lives in Auckland, and has two teenage children.

“My personal focus is on creating safer communities where young people are no longer subject to arrest and criminalisation.”

“As a parent, one of my main concerns is that our children will be interested in trying an illegal drug like cannabis, which means they may be vulnerable to the harms that come from associating with the black market, such as underage supply, exposure to other drugs, contamination with toxic substances, and getting a criminal record that may blight them for life,” he said.

“Too many young New Zealanders have been criminalised by the law on cannabis. By continuing down the same path we are going to breed further hardship and disrespect for the law – and those who enforce it – in yet another generation of young people.”

“In Portugal, where drugs have been de-criminalised since 2001, drug use among 13-15 year olds has declined by 25 percent; while drug use among 16-18 year olds has declined by 22 percent.”

“NORML NZ’s policy on this is very clear: adult only use for cannabis; which is to be legally produced and traded in a regulated and taxed market.”

“We intend to use the release early next year of the Law Commission’s final report on the outdated Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, as well as the upcoming election campaign, to make sure there is a sensible debate on the future of New Zealand’s drug laws.”

The members of NORML’s new national executive are:

NORML:Stephen McIntyre – president
NORML:Phil Saxby – vice president
NORML:Harry Cording – secretary
NORML:Pierre Paquay – treasurer
NORML:Chris Fowlie – editor
NORML:Dakta Green – bus tour coordinator

“This is a dynamic team which I’m confident will make a difference in raising the standard of debate here so that New Zealanders understand the current law itself is more harmful than cannabis and is being rejected around the world.”