“Prime Minister John Key is right to not support the banning of pipes and vapourisers,” says NORML NZ President, Stephen McIntyre. “He acknowledges that these devices can be used for “genuine and practical reasons”, making a ban unpopular and unworkable.”

On RNZ Morning Report today, John Key said: “While people use those implements for the consumption of illegal drugs, they’re also used actually for genuine and practical reasons by other users, who are other people. So it’s a question of whether that would practically work and even if you outlawed those whether they could use some makeshift home developed implement, so as a general rule no, my experience is they haven’t worked very well.”

NORML agrees. New president Stephen McIntyre today said it should not be a crime to use or possess a pipe.

“One in seven New Zealand adults now admit to being regular cannabis users. Many of those 400,000 people prefer pipes and waterpipes as this helps them smoke less, not more cannabis.”

“Banning pipes and vapourisers will not stop anyone using cannabis, but will certainly force some to use it in more harmful ways, such as turning aluminium cans and plastic bottles into smoking paraphernalia,” Mr McIntyre said.

“Surely Parliament would not try to ban juice bottles and cans, yet this is the logic of the Select Committee!”

“The Health Select Committee has been convinced by police and customs that they need increased powers, and has recommended the ban, calling it a ‘useful instrument’ for them to use.”

“However this is really an attack on personal liberty and health – and it now seems it is not supported by the Prime Minister.”

“It appears that John Key is listening to the public but the Health Committee has been captured by a section of officialdom committed to ever more controls, no matter how unworkable.”

The Misuse of Drugs Act is currently under review by the Law Commission, which has recommended reducing or eliminating penalties for cannabis possession for personal use.

“Harm reduction services, such as the needle exchange and methadone programme, are provided for users of other drugs. Cannabis users have equal rights and deserve safe access to harm reduction equipment too!”

More information:
Radio NZ:John Key on morning report, 1 Dec 2010
www.parliament.nzHealth Select Committee report on the Bill
www.parliament.nzParliament’s page on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2010
NORML:NORML’s submission opposing the Bill
NORML:Harm reduction equipment seized, new law to ban pipes & parts
Law CommissionLaw Commission’s review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975