Cannabis policy: issues and options

S Abel, S Casswell
New Zealand Medical Journal 1998 September 25, 111 (1074): 367-70
This paper examines some of the key points relevant to the debate about cannabis policy in New Zealand. It provides a brief overview of cannabis use patterns, the cannabis market and the public health implications of use. It describes the various strategies which comprise our current cannabis policy and the context of and primary concerns relating to it. Several alternative policy options are explained and in each case some evaluative comments are made. These alternatives are: total prohibition with an expediency principle; prohibition with civil penalties, partial prohibition, and regulation of private enterprise producers/distributors. From a public health perspective none of these options is unproblematic but each has the potential to overcome some of the disadvantages of the current policy and each needs to be further evaluated.

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