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


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, Ravensbourne
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