New Zealand IQ Study Proves Need for Regulated Cannabis Market

Press Release

NORML UK call on the British government to introduce a regulated cannabis market, following a New Zealand study which found that young people who smoke cannabis risk a significant and irreversible reduction in IQ.

An international team found that those who started using cannabis heavily below the age of 18 – while their brains were still developing – suffered a drop in IQ. NORML UK cautiously welcome the report, as it provides further evidence that prohibition has failed to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

NORML UK spokesman, Sanj Chowdary said:

The report also concluded that adults over 18 are not at risk. Therefore it is of vital importance for the British government to take the cannabis trade out of the black market and introduce carefully devised regulation that reduces the likelihood of children obtaining cannabis.

Countries like Portugal have taken bold steps toward drug law reform and have been rewarded with lower teen drug use. Effective social policy starts with sound evidence, and the evidence demonstrates that regulation and decriminalisation are the way forward.

It is high time to regulate cannabis, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, that also pose potential threats to young people’s development. The study’s author confirms that adult use of cannabis is safe. Another study out of the University of Colorado shows that well regulated dispensaries, which allow adults safe access to medicinal cannabis, do not increase teen drug use. These studies clearly show the necessity of proactive cannabis regulation,” concluded Mr Chowdhary.

A federally funded study at UCLA found that well regulated dispensaries are not associated with an increase in local crime:

“There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results suggest that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras), may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”

NORML US Deputy Director Paul Armentano wrote in June:

“Authors acknowledged that their findings ‘run contrary to public perceptions’ and that they conflict with public statements made by the California Police Chief’s Association, which had previously claimed, ‘Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside dispensaries are … common ancillary by-products of (medicinal cannabis) operations.'”

Prohibition fails to protect young people at great expense to the tax payer, the unwell, and vulnerable segments of society. A new approach to drug policy is long overdue.

NORML UK is the British Chapter of NORML, the oldest and largest cannabis campaigning group in the world.



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  1. This is good but as a user of cannabis since the age of 14 (I am now 18 and a half) I certainly resent that cannabis has affected my IQ. I was a clever kid before smoking weed, but I would consider myself far more of an intellectual after a few years of smoking. Weed has shown me a fondness for learning that school never could.

  2. It would be simplistic to assume that a brain stops developing at the age of 18. It’s a gradual process, of calcification from sponge, the start, length and completion of which will differ with each individual. It’s important to recognise that being 18+ means that the state see you as being able to make your own decisions and take responsibility for them legally rather than your mental capacity being somehow immune to potential damage/detriment. Although it’s ideal to assume that adults won’t suffer from impairment, I think the issue here is the ability to choose, to be given the liberty to make an informed mature decision and accept the consequences. The idea that somehow ‘educating’ adolescents into not trying new experiences is laughable, people will always try it regardless of how dangerous you tell them it is. In fact, I would argue that the curiosity and pretense surrounding cannabis is created by prohibition in the first place.

  3. I feel the same this is a long time overdue! from soap bar to weed the crap you get on the black market theres alsorts in it to add weight ,youngsters these days dont know what they are smoking at a young age .

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