The father of a 22-year-old who died from synthetic cannabis use says harsher penalties are just one of the steps needed to stop the drugs killing Kiwis.
A private member’s bill from National MP Simeon Brown, which calls for an increase in the maximum penalty for suppliers from two years’ imprisonment to eight years, passed its first reading on Wednesday.
While Labour and the Greens opposed it, NZ First has agreed to support it through the first reading, which gets it to the select committee stage. National’s 56 votes and NZ First’s nine gave it a clear majority in the House, of 65 to 55.
I don’t think it is a bad thing the bill has gone to select committee so the public can have their say. The status quo is not working, with people dying from synthetic cannabis. This bill will allow those affected to be heard and have a say.
However while the intentions behind it are laudable, I don’t see it as a step in the right direction.
The so called war on drugs has failed miserably for the last few decades. I do support a tough approach to drugs such as P which cause people to go into psychosis and do terrible stuff to others.
But the approach to drugs which mainly impact the user, should be health based.
The best way to reduce the prevalence of synthetic cannabis would be to legalise normal cannabis – a substance far less harmful.