New Zealand Health Ministry: Pot Poses No Serious Risk 7/31/98

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


In a statement submitted to Parliament this Thursday, the New Zealand Ministry of Health told a select committee inquiry into the mental health effects of marijuana that, "Overall, the current public health risks of cannabis use are small to moderate in size, and are less than the public health risk of tobacco or alcohol use." While it noted that large amounts of marijuana caused acute temporary impairment to thinking, and that some forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, could be exacerbated by marijuana use, the statement also said that research shows that even long-term, heavy use of marijuana does not cause great damage to cognition, but that the vast majority of marijuana users in New Zealand use the drug only occasionally.

The Ministry's statement largely squares with the conclusions of more than a dozen blue-ribbon reports commissioned by several governments over the past one hundred years, including the Commission of the Australian Government in 1977, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse convened by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1972, and the Report by the Dutch Government in 1995.

In an interview in the New Zealand Dominion, New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust director and DRCNet advisory board member Dr. David Hadorn said that the criminalization of marijuana causes more harm to the mental health of New Zealanders than the drug itself. "Creating a climate of criminality around cannabis use," he said, "insures that the relatively few people who develop problems are less likely to seek help. This sets off a spiral of alienation, marginalisation and anti-social behaviour, which too often can culminate in criminality, mental illness and violence."

(A number of the reports cited have been re-published in DRCNet's Online Drug Policy Library; the are listed at, Major Studies link.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #52, 7/31/98 NJ NEP Workers' Conviction Upheld in Appeals Court | Oakland City Council Votes to Shield Local Cannabis Dispensary from Federal Prosecution Controversy Over Searches | DOJ Asks for Dismissal of Hemp Suit | Feds Indict Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick and Others, Alleging Vast Conspiracy to Supply Medical Marijuana | Peaceful Prison Protest Earns Solitary Confinement | Action Request: The Tax Stamp Controversy | New Zealand Health Ministry: Pot Poses No Serious Risk | Newsbriefs | Link of the Week | A Campaign for Substance Awareness | Debating Points | Office of National Drug Control Policy Hard at Work | Editorial: The Pompano Beach Twelve

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]