Stuff co.nz 9 June 2012
Waimate councillor Sandy Mulqueen’s bid for cannabis decriminalisation may be gone, but it’s not forgotten.
Mulqueen hit the headlines over the past fortnight when she formed a lobby group and made a submission to her own council’s long-term plan outlining a project to decriminalise marijuana for personal and medicinal use.
Her cause attracted national media attention when she admitted being stoned while working as an Auckland city bus driver. A Timaru Herald poll which ran alongside the story attracted more than 3000 votes and raised much debate on the topic, indicating wide public interest.
More than two-thirds of voters supported either decriminalisation or legalisation, and the rest the status quo.
Mulqueen’s campaign was thrown out by the Waimate council but she pledged to continue lobbying for legalisation.
But for Ross Bell, executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, legalisation is not an option. He says Mulqueen has made some bold claims about the medical, spiritual and economic benefits of marijuana.
He agrees with her, though, that the current law is not working to reduce the harm of cannabis.
“The law doesn’t do what it is designed to do; we think it’s obsolete and needs to be modified.”
Bell is supporting the Law Commission’s 2011 call for change.