If Reducing Harm Is The Goal, A Cost-benefit Analysis Shows Cannabis Prohibition Has FailedPosted by On




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Alexander
Gillespie
, University
of Waikato

The case for a referendum on
New Zealand’s cannabis law was already urgent in 2015 when
the supposedly more pressing issue was whether we should change
the flag
. As I argued
at the time, prohibition had failed and was costing society
far more than the drug itself.

As with alcohol,
tobacco, prostitution and gambling, regulation – not
prohibition – seemed the smarter way forward. Nothing has
changed as the cannabis legalisation and control referendum
looms on October 17. If anything, the evidence from five
wasted decades of war on cannabis is even more
compelling.

First, tens of thousands of New Zealand
lives have been disproportionately damaged – not through
use of the drug, but because of its
criminalisation.

According to figures released
under the Official Information Act, between 1975 and…

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