Medical Association opposes cannabis legalisation but backs civil penalties for drug possessionNZ Herald 8 May 2019Family First Comment: Who do you believe? Greens and Drug Foundation OR medical professionals? That’s easy. #VoteNo“The NZMA, which represents doctors in all areas of medicine, said cannabis was a harmful drug which caused a range of health and social harms at both the individual and community level. It did not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and opposed legalisation.”The body which represents the country’s doctors says it remains opposed to legalising cannabis after the Government outlined plans for a public referendum on the issue next year.However, the New Zealand Medical Association said it was in favour of civil rather than criminal penalties for cannabis possession, saying it was consistent with goals to reduce harm related to the drug.The NZMA, which represents doctors in all areas of medicine, said cannabis was a harmful drug which caused a range of health and social harms at both the individual and community level.It did not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and opposed legalisation, its members said in a statement today. The Government’s announcements about a referendum on legalising cannabis in 2020 had not changed this position.Chairwoman Kate Baddock said that in addition to physical harm, cannabis created social and psychological harm.“We are disappointed that the Government is not showing leadership on a matter that has far-reaching effects for all New Zealanders.“What we would like to see is the Government undertaking targeted initiatives to reduce the social inequalities that increase the risk of harm from drug use and meaningful investment into education and treatment programmes.READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12228985New Zealand Medical Association and Cannabis 2020 ReferendumNZ Doctor 8 May 2019 Cannabis is a harmful drug that causes a range of health and social harms at the individual and community level. NZMA does not condone the use of cannabis for recreational purpose and opposes legalisation. This position has not changed with the government’s announcement yesterday (Tuesday 7 May) of a 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum.NZMA strongly believes that cannabis use is a significant health and social issue. Furthermore, cannabis needs to be viewed in terms of social determinants and the social gradient where our most vulnerable people are at greater risk of drug harms.“In addition to the physical harm caused by cannabis its use creates social and psychological harm, particularly for younger people” says Dr Kate Baddock Chair of the NZMA, “and we are disappointed that the government is not showing leadership on a matter that has far-reaching effects for all New Zealanders. ““What we would like to see is the government undertaking targeted initiatives to reduce the social inequalities that increase the risk of harm from drug use and meaningful investment into education and treatment programmes. NZMA would also like to see a public education campaign to demonstrate that ‘soft’ or ‘recreational’ drugs, as any drug, can have serious and harmful effects.“NZMA believes that it is consistent with a principle of harm reduction for the possession of cannabis for personal use to attract civil penalties such as court orders requiring counselling and education (particularly for young and first-time offenders), or attendance at ‘drug courts’ which divert users from the criminal justice system into treatment.”https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/article/undoctored/new-zealand-medical-association-and-cannabis-2020-referendum
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