Regulation will reduce teen cannabis use, says NORML

Current drug policy is resulting in widespread teenage cannabis use while a regulated market would make cannabis use adults-only in licensed premises.

Despite strict cannabis laws, New Zealand has the highest rate of teen cannabis use in the world. Meanwhile, the Netherlands have the most relaxed cannabis laws for adults in the world but has the lowest rate of teen cannabis use.

“New Zealand needs to take a leaf out of the Dutch book, regulation allows age-restrictions, gram-limits and safe environments for adults to use cannabis,” Norml vice president Abe Gray said.

“Regulation will drive teens away from cannabis making it too uncool for them. Most teens in the Netherlands have no desire to try cannabis, especially at a young age.”

Mr Gray said he was pleased that even Peter Dunne was coming round to supporting regulation of soft drugs.

“Dunne is even comparing himself to UK Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who supports cannabis regulation,” Gray said.

“Not only would a regulated cannabis market reduce teen cannabis use it would also help New Zealand tackle its drinking and suicide problems.”

In the U.S. a considerable body of data now shows that teen cannabis use has gone down following the passage of medical marijuana laws, especially in California. These states have also seen around a significant reduction in alcohol related harm and a drop in suicides.

“The suicide rate in medical marijuana states continues to fall, while the suicide rate in states that never legalized medical marijuana begins to climb gradually,” said a group of researchers from Montana State University, the University of Colorado and San Diego State University.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1208/S00433.htm