Good cannabis referendum site

University of Otago researchers have put together a very good website on the cannabis referendum. It doesn’t tell you how to vote but presents data from the gold class Dunedin and Christchurch longitudinal studies.

Some of their findings:

  • 80% of adults have tried at least once
  • When they were young adults, around 50% had used in the last year
  • Cannabis use starts to decline in early 30s
  • Around 4% to 10% of population are diagnosed as cannabis dependent
  • There is a relationship between cannabis use and other drug use, with it being strong if people start regular cannabis before age 17
  • Cannabis use elevates the chance of psychotic symptoms, but the size of the risk relation is small
  • A loss of 8 IQ points was found amongst study members who began using cannabis in adolescence and continued until age 38
  • Overall the major risk is with those who begin using in adolescence or are dependent
  • The illegal status of cannabis does not prevent some people from using
  • Arrests and convictions do not lead to a reduction in use

To me this reinforces that a health based approach is the best way to reduce harm from cannabis use.

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