Seven Kiwis are dead, and paramedics in Auckland see 20 users of synthetic cannabis a day with life threatening effects from this drug.
Emergency medicine specialist at Wellington hospital, Dr Paul Quigley stated that a single smoke of synthetic cannabis is equivalent to 15 marijuana joints and this synthetic cannabis is a dangerous product responsible for immediate harm. Working as a former emergency department nurse with patients under the influence of synthetic cannabis, I can say they are a danger to themselves, public and emergency staff.
So, why do we need cannabis law reform? The simple answer is to reduce harm, and reducing contact with the criminal underworld (gangs) who are then exploiting our communities most vulnerable people by withholding cannabis, while pushing meth (P) and synthetic cannabis for financial gain. Is it not time we care about these unnecessary deaths and destruction forced upon so many families?
Prohibition of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 has clearly been a complete failure. Two out of five Kiwis has smoked cannabis in their lifetime, including 25% of our youth in the last year; do we really want to push them into the hands of our gangs? The harmful effects of cannabis pale in comparison to the unnecessary deaths we are witnessing from synthetic cannabis.
We must fix this by implementing a highly-regulated, highly-controlled legalised cannabis model similar to New Zealand's successful tobacco control model, while reinvesting tax generated into education, youth projects and treatment of all drug addictions.
It breaks my heart to see our young people turning up in emergency departments, when this problem is completely avoidable. It is time to act now with evidence-based, best-practice policy to save lives!
See our Real Deal Cannabis policy for more information: