On Monday, July 21, the New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust, a distinguished group of academicians and clinicians, released a discussion paper concerning the cannabis (marijuana) policy of the island nation. The paper, authored by DRCNet member Dr. David Hadorn, recommended several alternatives to Prohibition, ranging from civil fines in place of criminal sanction, to a system of regulation, under which adults could buy cannabis legally from licensed vendors.
NZDPFT's paper was front page, headline news in the Evening Post, and the story was picked up by the NZPA for distribution throughout New Zealand and possibly to Australia. Hadorn was interviewed on three national radio programs and appeared on the Nightline television program. Reportedly, the Minister of Health was hand-carried a copy of the report by a Ministry staffer working on drug policy, and there was significant interest in the report within the Parliament.
The full text of the report is available on the web site of the New Zealand Drug Foundation at http://www.nzdf.org.nz/ -- follow the Cannabis Discussion Paper link. While you're there, join the online Discussion Forum and take part in the international drug policy debate. The report is also available on the Lindesmith Center web site at http://www.lindesmith.org/dpft/.
Other members of the New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust include Dr. Robin Briant, Auckland Hospital senior physician, Professor Fred Fastier, University of Otago emeritus pharmacology, and Professor Norman Sharpe, Auckland Medical School medicine department head.