The warning signs were there 6 months ago

meth user

The warning signs were there 6 months ago when our Labour-led coalition government decided that meth residue inside state houses was no longer a serious problem. They moved tenants back into meth-contaminated homes after first finding an expert to increase the level of contamination that is legally considered safe. Then, instead of punishing those tenants who contaminated the homes in the first place with their illegal drug habits, they financially compensated them!

Back then some of us were wondering about the message this sends about the government’s acceptance of and tolerance of the use of illegal drugs in state houses. Zero tolerance would be a strong anti-drug stance but, by making a higher level of contamination acceptable, the government appears to be sanctioning the consumption of meth as long as the person is not manufacturing it.

Should we be surprised then to learn that the government is now eyeing up the fat tax revenue to be gained from legalising cannabis? Newshub writes quote.

New analysis suggests the Government could make hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue if cannabis is fully legalised.

A report has found that a reform package, including the decriminalisation of all drugs, would more than pay for itself in economic and health benefits.

NZ may adopt ‘novel process’ to drug reform – Andrew Little
New Zealand ‘well-behind’ on lifesaving drug reform – Helen Clark
Drug use a health issue, not criminal – Police Minister Stuart Nash
The Drug Foundation has made no secret it wants drug reform, but it’s now brought in top economist Shamubeel Eaqub of Sense Partners to back its case. end quote.

How interesting that the government is now claiming that both drug use and abortion are no longer criminal issues but ‘health’ issues. quote.

“Who doesn’t know somebody who’s smoked pot? Everybody knows somebody… and if you haven’t done it, you’re missing out,” he says.

Mr Eaqub looked at the cost benefit of legalising cannabis and decriminalising the possession and use of all drugs. His report’s found such a reform could net New Zealand $240 million in tax revenue.

Close to $13 million would be saved by treating drugs as a health concern rather than a crime, he claims – and there could be $83 million in social savings, for example because there’d be fewer people in prison.

“Most of the savings comes from the criminal justice system, and on average the cost of putting someone in health is half of that of locking them up and putting them through the court and prisons,” says Mr Eaqub.

The Drug Foundation also wants to pump an extra $150 million into addiction treatment, drug education and harm reduction – and it says that would more than pay itself off.

“The returns of the investment, are somewhere between one-and-a-half and five times,” says Mr Eaqub.

Health Minister David Clark says there’s merit in considering it.

“Of course we’re not going to rush into anything – we want to talk seriously though the issue, because we’re focused on harm re-education.”

[…] The Government has promised a referendum on legalising cannabis on or before the next election.?end quote.?