Law Commission of New Zealand Issues Paper on Drug Use
The Commission will provide final recommendations to the New Zealand government in July.
"In 2007 the Associate Minister of Health invited the Law Commission to review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. This invitation arose partly in response to the debate over the reclassification of benzylpiperazine (BZP) as a Class C controlled drug. A number of significant problems, particularly over the adequacy of the legislative framework to deal with new psychoactive substances, were identified alongside longstanding concerns over the Act’s fitness for its purpose. As a consequence, the Government decided that a broad review of the Act was required. "
"There is concern that the Misuse of Drugs Act no longer provides a coherent and effective legislative framework for responding to the misuse of psychoactive drugs. The Act has become complex. It is difficult to understand and navigate because it has been amended on numerous occasions and is supported by two free-standing but closely linked amendment Acts. All three must be read together to understand how drugs are controlled. There are also problems in the way the Misuse of Drugs regime interacts with other legislation such as the Medicines Act 1981 and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996."
"Most significantly, the Act’s policy framework appears to be out of step with current drug policy. Although it has been amended numerous times to reflect new developments in drug use, there is concern that the Act is now outdated and does not reflect current knowledge and understanding about drug use and related health, social and economic harms."