New Zealand’s bishops have urged voters “to give serious thoughts” about a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana.
Turning to the recreational cannabis referendum — medical marijuana is already legal in New Zealand — the bishops note that young people, particularly those still at school, are the group in society most vulnerable to the effects of marijuana.
“The referendum proposal sets 20 as the minimum age for buying and using cannabis. It seems counter-intuitive to believe that an age limit will stop young people using cannabis if cannabis becomes more easily available in the community. They will likely access it more easily, in the same way that under-18s currently access alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis; primarily through friends and family,” the statement says.
“Given these points, we think people do need to give serious thoughts to the issue, and we hope you will use your vote in an informed way that considers the impact of legalized recreational cannabis on the young and vulnerable in our communities,” the bishops say.