Banning legal highs misses point

National and Labour's intention of banning legal highs fails to address broader issues surrounding New Zealand's drug laws, says ACT on Campus communications officer Louis Houlbrooke.

"It's obvious that synthetic cannabis isn't healthy stuff. But we shouldn't lose sight of the bigger issue - prohibition simply doesn't work," said Mr Houlbrooke.

"Potential dealers have two weeks to stockpile legal highs. When the ban comes into effect, some addicts will continue to pursue synthetic cannabis on the black market.

"Others, in being lured back to the black market, will turn to more dangerous illegal drugs such as P.

"In a best case scenario, addicts will revert to smoking ordinary natural cannabis. But this can hardly be considered a success, when these individuals, who are not seeking to harm anyone else, are turned back into criminals due to the law change.

"It's easy to identify a problem in society and say that a ban is the perfect answer. But that's a dangerous road to follow.

"Alcohol causes far more issues for Kiwis than weed, synthetic or otherwise. Yet not many New Zealanders would support a total ban on booze.

"That's because deep down, New Zealanders understand that personal freedom matters, and that freedom should take precedence over any bureaucrat's narrow-minded idea of 'safety'.

"ACT on Campus will continue lobbying ACT to address New Zealand's drug problem without restricting freedoms. The logical first step is to make legal highs disappear from the market by legalising cannabis."

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