Researchers warn cannabis risks being downplayedStuff co.nz 18 January 2019Family First Comment: Everyone knows this. But the pro-drug groups try to pretend they don’t exist or don’t matter. The reason there’s laws around drug use like marijuana is exactly because of the health harms!#SayNopeToDopewww.VoteNo.nzOtago University health researchers warn cannabis risks are being downplayed in talk about changing the law but, in a New Zealand Medical Journal editorial, do support decriminalising recreational use by adults.A binding referendum on personal cannabis use is being held at the 2020 election. Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the decision shortly before Christmas, at the time saying some details were still to be worked through.Friday’seditorial in the NZMJ urging caution in how the law is changed was written by Research Associate Professor Joseph Boden, from the university’s Department of Psychological Medicine, and by Emeritus Professor David Fergusson, who died in October.The editorial said an unfortunate feature of the cannabis law debate was that relatively few contributors had talked about either the harms of cannabis, or the potential risks of decriminalisation.“Cannabis has multiple harmful effects which are particularly evident for young users, and the extent to which legalisation is beneficial is by no means clear,” the editorial said.“Most contributions (to the debate) imply that cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, and that cannabis law change will only have beneficial consequences.“We would argue that, on the basis of evidence generated by longitudinal studies based in New Zealand, both assumptions are incorrect.”New Zealand had some of the richest data on the adverse consequences of cannabis use – from the Christchurch Health and Development Study and the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/109979248/nzmj-editorial-urges-caution-in-changing-cannabis-laws-warns-risks-being-downplayed?cid=app-iPhoneCannabis cons ignored in legalisation debate – expertsNewsHub 18 January 2019 The debate on whether we should legalise cannabis has focused far too much on the pros and not enough on the cons, public health researchers say.Kiwis are set to vote on the drug’s legal status in a referendum in 2020, the exact question yet to be decided. But Joseph Boden of the University of Otago’s Department of Psychological Medicine is urging a slow-and-steady approach, saying the negative effects marijuana can have are being ignored.“Relatively few contributors have discussed either the harms of cannabis or potential risks of legalisation,” Dr Boden wrote in the latest NZ Medical Journal, published Friday.“Most contributions imply that cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, and that cannabis law change will only have beneficial consequences. We would argue that, on the basis of evidence generated by longitudinal studies based in New Zealand, both assumptions are incorrect.”Dr Boden and his late colleague and co-author David Fergusson say evidence from the Christchurch Health and Development Study and the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study show marijuana use can be linked to: educational delaywelfare dependenceincreased risks of psychotic symptomsmajor depressionincreased risks of motor vehicle accidentsincreased risks of tobacco useincreased risks of other illicit drug useand respiratory impairment.READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2019/01/cannabis-cons-ignored-in-legalisation-debate-experts.html Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.