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Is It Time To Legalise Cannabis?

849 words - 4 pages

In 1978, in the isolated bush regions of the Coromandel an intense drug raid was conducted by the police vice squad. The target was an adult male cannabis grower living with his female partner and her five children.

The macro influencers to criminalise cannabis came from the medical professions wanted to control drug use and distribution. In Britain there was concern over opium poisonings and towards the end of the 19th century doctors began to identify addiction, in particular opium addiction, as a disease. (Phillips, 2013)

The adoption of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 was due to international pressure rather than any issues or concern about drugs in NZ. The act was “designed to bring New ...view middle of the document...

Added to this dollar cost is the social cost of prohibition. Offenders have a criminal conviction but that conviction may not reflect the magnitude of the crime. The social cost of stigmatisation may outweigh the impact of the crime committed. (Law commission, 2010)

The introductory incident arose directly from the prohibition of cannabis. At a micro level the influences to cultivate cannabis arose from the subsistence living of the family and the glamour of Terry Clark’s (Sinclair) alleged millions from the Mr Asia drug syndicate. The family were ‘hiding’ in the bush from a society that would not protect them from family violence and the environment leant itself to cultivation. These small scale perspectives coupled with the macro perspectives on the growing social acceptance of cannabis and the popular rebellious attitudes of the 60’s and 70’s greatly influenced the decision.

From a macro perspective of NZ society, apprehension rates compared with usage rates are low. If the laws aim is to prevent cannabis in NZ then the implementation of the law is doing a miserable job. What kind of society is being shaped when a norm is illegal? This is a question alluded to by the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, it’s website claims that by legalising cannabis respect for law and order will also be restored in NZ.

A real effect of the raid and subsequent conviction for the family was a decrease in respect for “law and order”, a sense of rejection and mistrust. Social hurt had already been realised by the family in terms of law...

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