Pubdate:  Mon,19 Jun 2000
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Address: P.O. Box 181, 52-66 Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2003
Author: Duncan Eddy


I AM CONCERNED about the suggestion made by a grieving mother, Dianne 
Langridge, that Nandor Tanczos should leave Parliament ( ODT , 31.5.00). 
Langridge's son died last year while under the influence of ecstasy. Drug 
abuse can obviously have severe consequences, and Mr Tanczos's advocation 
of cannabis law reform is being seen by some as a threat to the youth of 
New Zealand. It is important to remember that while Mr Tanczos believes 
that adults should be free to smoke marijuana, he also says that people 
under 18 shouldn't be smoking the stuff.

It would be naive, however, to suppose that one man's advice is going to 
change the drug-abusing ways of our youth.

But it would be even more naive to claim that cannabis prohibition has 
proved effective in reducing drug abuse.

Dianne Langridge believes that her son had been addicted to cannabis since 
his teenage years.

Under prohibition, young drug abusers are denied realistic education and 
estranged from the society that should be trying to help them.

Recent research by the University of Amsterdam into cannabis under the 
Dutch system of de facto decriminalisation has revealed that only 15% of 
Dutch adults and 12% of children under 17 have used cannabis. When we 
compare that to the recent New Zealand findings that 52% of adults and 25% 
of young people have used cannabis, we must conclude that prohibition is 
not working.

Duncan Eddy


[Abridged. - Ed.]