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P not a marijuana substitute: Bennett

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017 Karen Sweeney

Methamphetamine is not a substitute to marijuana after a bad growing season pushed up prices, according to Police Minister Paula Bennett.

Anecdotally the police minister says she's heard from police and fellow MPs that a bad growing season in parts of New Zealand drove up the cost of the drug and made P more attractive.

Her advice is "don't go near any of them" but certainly don't consider P an alternative.

"Can I just say to every New Zealander that's thinking that, that actually a bit of a toke on marijuana is incredibly different than actually having a go at P which, one hit and you are hooked and it takes an average seven years to get off that addictive substance," she said.

"It's not just soul destroying for the individuals but we see families and so many of our towns and cities that are absolutely destroyed because one member is going through the hideous addiction."

Ms Bennett said she didn't see legalising cannabis so drug users would take it over another drug was the solution to the country's methamphetamine problem.

Prime Minister Bill English said access to methamphetamine was a problem, regardless of whether it was easier or more difficult to access than marijuana.

"It's too easy to get meth," he said.

"It's too destructive and we need to be very focused on disrupting that process as much as we can."

He has stood by the efforts in the so-called war on P launched by his predecessor John Key last year, saying the police were doing their best and were getting better in their response.

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