New Zealand: Parliament Reclassifies Speed and Ecstasy, Stiffer Penalties Coming 8/5/05

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The New Zealand Parliament Thursday okayed the rescheduling of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), such as Ecstasy and methamphetamine from category B to category B1. It was a move sought by the New Zealand government in the wake of evidence of increasing ATS use in the South Pacific island nation.

The move will dramatically increase penalties. For example, possession with intent to distribute ATS drugs, which previously carried a maximum sentence of three months is now worth up to 14 years in prison. It also gives police greater search and seizure powers in ATS-related investigations.

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton praised the move, saying the stimulants were extremely harmful. "By supporting this move, Parliament is saying that it is not in the public interest for them to be used as so-called recreational drugs," he said in a statement after the vote.

Concern about methamphetamine in particular has been on the increase in New Zealand since a police report last year warned that the drug was easily available. The vote came just two weeks after a well-publicized ATS bust involving white-collar managerial workers in Auckland.

The recent bust reinforced the findings in the police report, said local police commander Ted Cox. "The report indicated availability of these types of drugs as 'easy' or 'very easy' and that ATS drug use is prevalent across the community not just in the criminal world," he told the New Zealand Herald. "The study showed a percentage of ATS drug users had high levels of fulltime employment, came from a range of occupational backgrounds including professionals, earned mid-level incomes and had relatively high levels of educational achievement," Cox said.

So we should send them to prison for a few years?

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Issue #398 -- 8/5/05

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Feature: Marc Emery Busted -- Canada's Leading Marijuana Activist Facing Life in American Prison Over Seed Sales | Feature: The Methamphetamine Epidemic -- Less Than Meets the Eye | Feature: Prison Protest Aiming for DC in Eight Days | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Patriot Act: House Reauthorization Includes New "Narcoterrorism" Offense | Patriot Act: Sold as Fighting Terrorists, Act is Used in Marijuana-Smuggling Investigation | Search and Seizure: New Jersey Police Looking for Marijuana Growers Must Have Warrant to See Utility Records, Appeals Court Holds | Treatment: Congress Lifts 30-Patient Limit for Buprenorphine Treatment | Marijuana: Denver SAFER Initiative Headed for November Ballot | New Zealand: Parliament Reclassifies Speed and Ecstasy, Stiffer Penalties Coming | Treatment: New Web Site Provides Resources on Opiate Agonist Therapy | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunity: Prevention Point Pittsburgh | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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