Drug policies have traditionally sought to suppress supply and deter use through the application of punitive laws. Today, there is a growing recognition that these drug policies have not only failed to reach their objectives but have resulted in a great deal of collateral damage. Drug policy must be reformed to focus on health, human rights and development objectives, with the aim of making the market less harmful rather than necessarily reducing its size.
As New Zealand’s general election draws closer, some of the parliamentary candidates have been discussing drug policy after the 2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium was convened in early July by the NZ Drug Foundation to fuel debate on the subject.
The New Zealand Drug Foundation has proposed new drug laws that would decriminalise all drugs, and create a regulated cannabis market. Executive director Ross Bell outlines the foundation’s model drug law.