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Cannabis law reform is finally gaining momentum under the Labour/ NZ First Government. TOP’s policy on this issue – advocating legal, regulated and taxed cannabis, a grow-your-own allowance and a legal use age of 20 – was one of the most clearly articulated in the 2017 General Election. Like all TOP policies, it was evidence-based, harm reducing and included an economic impact analysis.
TOP is pleased that our strong stance early on helped keep the conversation going and shifted the goalposts of what was seen as politically possible by the establishment parties. We are delighted that the announcement of the referendum shows that a law change is on the cards. In the mean time the Government plans to make progress on the issue of medicinal use as per Labour Party policy.
A referendum on legalising cannabis (as per NZ First policy) is a step forward, but with any referendum, the devil is in the detail. At the very least the Government needs to make sure that a clear, evidence-based model for legalising cannabis is put forward during the referendum. Otherwise, the naysayers will shoot down the referendum when most of the issues raised could easily be resolved by a well regulated legal framework. TOP has already done the work on this and we are happy for the Government to pick up our model as a way forward.
In keeping with our policy and our economic and social harm analysis, we believe that this Government needs to go further. TOP calls for a regulated and taxed market before the next election. This is not a morality issue, it’s a public well-being issue, and the government needs to do the right thing based on the available evidence.
Paddy Plunket [email protected] 021 918 120
Abe Gray [email protected] 027 771 7332
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