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In the 01/23/2019 edition:

Man credited with decriminalizing drugs in Portugal not sure legal cannabis is the right move

Jan 23, 2019 12:16 pm

CTV News 12 October 2018 
The man who helped Portugal decriminalize all drugs isn’t yet sure if Canada’s plan to legalize cannabis is the right one.

Joao Goulao, the current national drug coordinator for Portugal, says his country will be keeping an eye on Canada as it legalizes cannabis next week, but doesn’t yet know if the move is a good idea.

“I’ll wait and see,” Goulao told CTV News’ Paul Workman. “I’m very curious. I’ll watch it very closely because I’m sure the discussion is going to be had in my country also.”

“I believe this is probably the best step that we can do to deal with (drug abuse), but I would like to see the results.”

Goulao is considered a principal architect behind Portugal’s landmark decision in 2001 to decriminalize all drugs. Now 17 years later, the country has seen major drops in drug overdoses and HIV.

Goulao has already been keeping a close eye on Uruguay, which legalized cannabis in 2013, and some of the states in the U.S., but believes Canada will provide the best case study for what a world of legal marijuana would look like.

“I believe the Canadian model is probably the best one, to show us the results, what we can expect from that decision,” he said.

Drugs are still illegal in Portugal, however users are sent to counselling instead of being charged with a crime. Those selling illicit drugs are still considered criminals.

“Decriminalization is not the solution for everything, but everything is much easier (when) thinking about addiction as a disease with the same dignity as other diseases,” said Goulao.

Goulao adds that Canada’s marijuana legalization represents a significant shift forward from Portugal’s laws, but says Canadians should monitor the situation to see if people start using cannabis more frequently, if people are choosing to consume cannabis at a younger age or if they are moving on to harder drugs.

Cannabis becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/man-credited-with-decriminalizing-drugs-in-portugal-not-sure-legal-cannabis-is-the-right-move-1.4131841

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Marijuana has ‘potentially devastating effects on young people’ – Bennett

Jan 23, 2019 11:54 am

Radio NZ News 23 January 2019
Family First Comment: “She said the government’s smokefree goals clashed with its plans to hold the referendum and was contributing to its “ad hoc” and “confused” approach to drug reform.” 
#SayNopeToDope 
www.VoteNo.nz

National’s new spokesperson on drug reform says she has a raft of unanswered questions about next year’s referendum on legalising cannabis.

A binding referendum on legalising cannabis for personal use will be held at the 2020 general election.

Today National Party leader Simon Bridges announced that as part of a minor reshuffle, a new shadow portfolio on drug reform would be led by deputy leader Mrs Bennett.

Mrs Bennett told 5 o’clock Report that while she was still weighing up whether she supported the referendum, her main concern was the impact of legalisation on young people.

“I honestly worry about our young people and the evidence we’ve seen is that more of them access cannabis when their brains are still developing and it has the potential to have very devastating effects on them and I want to know the answers.”

She said the government’s smokefree goals clashed with its plans to hold the referendum and was contributing to its “ad hoc” and “confused” approach to drug reform.

She said other uncertainties included the wording of the question in the referendum, what would the administration regime look like, would THC levels be monitored, what would happen to illicit drug use, and the legal age for purchase of marijuana.
READ MORE: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/top/380681/marijuana-has-potentially-devastating-effects-on-young-people-bennett

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