Depression, suicide, marijuana

How is it that the so-called ‘independent’ NZ Drug Foundation, dominantly coalition government (taxpayer) funded to the tune of more than $1.5 million p.a., champions decriminalisation of marijuana?

The Foundation conspicuously avoids publishing World Health Organisation data which demonstrates the rate of suicide in Portugal doubled from 7.4 to 14 per 100,000 following decriminalisation in July 2001. In the same period, since 1995, NZ’s suicide rate has declined 20%, ranking NZ as 53rd in the world – sadly of little consolation.

Cabinet papers tabled by Andrew Little on 7th May highlighted the harm from the use of cannabis, listing increased risk of developing depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, dependence, lung damage, driver impairment, offending, and other social issues.

How can the coalition government possibly contemplate a referendum to decriminalise marijuana? This at a time when it has just budgeted $1.9 billion over 5 years for mental health. If this government is serious about ‘Wellbeing’ then it must reconsider its position on holding such a referendum.

By all means respond to drug dependence and depression with the support of therapeutic care but let’s not flood this care service by decriminalising marijuana.

 - Deane Smart


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