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Views on cannabis reforms

A referendum on legalising cannabis for personal use will be held in tandem with next year’s General Election. The Herald’s Wynsley Wrigley spoke with local MPs, mayoralty candidates and Gisborne Chamber of Commerce about the issue. The third and final in a series of articles is the Chamber of Commerce members’ views . . .

An informal survey by the Chamber of Commerce shows 80 percent of members oppose the legalisation of cannabis.

Another 5 percent of respondents were either undecided or commented about medicinal cannabis.

Chamber chief executive Terry Sheldrake surveyed members after being approached by The Herald for comment on the cannabis referendum, which will be held next year.

Mr Sheldrake said the following comments were ‘‘a snapshot’’ of replies he received.

Against — 80 percent

Employees under the influence of drugs do not perform at satisfactory levels and carry a health and safety risk.Strongly object because it will be another high risk for employers. It will require increased and constant testing and monitoring.Tairawhiti has enough issues already with misuse of drugs and finding suitable clean employees. A yes vote is only going to exasperate the problem and cause further mental health problems in younger people.There are significant bodies of research that show impairment due to substances (drugs or alcohol), have consistently been disproportionately represented in relation to work place incidents.From a Health and Safety standpoint alone, it would be a nightmare to legalise cannabis.The Government is doing all it can to stamp out smoking, and now is trying to bring in legalised drug consumption.Of importance is the detrimental impact that substance abuse has on the wellbeing of our young people and other groups of our society.International statistics show that legalisation of personal use of recreational drugs has a detrimental impact on society.

For — 15 percent

The effect of cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes.I support the legalising of cannabis use with controls for the reason of taking it away from criminals. Hopefully it will also reduce, or better, eliminate the use of synthetic cannabis.It will lower the incidence of black market selling.Gang dominance and influence would be lessened.

Undecided or commented on medicinal cannabis — 5 percent

I agree with medicinal cannabis being grown and sold for those requiring it for genuine approved case and export only.I am concerned that the focus on the legislation and the referendum will foul up legislation relating to medicinal cannabis. Among other points raised in The Dope on Hemp article published in April 20, 2019, Listener, the fact is there is a difference between hemp, grown legally in Tairawhiti and the species marijuana/cannabis. One important and key difference relates to the level of psychoactive components namely tetrahydrocannabinol THC.