Greens promised referendum on personal cannabis use – Ardern wants national discussion

By October 20, 2017 Recent News

Stuff 20 October 2017
Family First Comment: “Conservative lobby group Family First was already preparing to rail against the prospect of a referendum. National director Bob McCoskrie said it would be running a “nope to dope” campaign.”

Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will work with her Cabinet and take advice before holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis.

She said her Executive would decide when the referendum went ahead and was personally open to the discussion. Ardern said there was a need to balance overly harsh criminal sentencing with the drug’s capability to cause harm.

Conservative lobby group Family First was already preparing to rail against the prospect of a referendum. National director Bob McCoskrie said it would be running a “nope to dope” campaign.

“Legalising marijuana and the rise of Big Marijuana is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people.

There are too many health risks including the effect of marijuana on cognitive ability, cardiac function and psychosis,” he said.

Cannabis referendum: What it could mean for stoners
NZ Herald 20 October 2017
A public referendum on legalising cannabis for personal use will be held by the 2020 election as part of the agreement between the Green and Labour parties.

Legalising cannabis has been a key policy for the Green Party for the past 20 years.

But what changes will Kiwis be voting on when it comes to the cannabis referendum?

Legalise cannabis for personal use:
According to The Green Party, its drug law reform policy indicates that it aims to make cannabis legal for personal use, including possession and cultivation of the drug.

However, it is unclear whether selling cannabis would be legalised.

Age restriction on cannabis use:
The Greens have made it clear there a legal age limit for personal use of cannabis will need to be introduced, although the age is yet to be set or agreed upon.

Driving under the influence of cannabis:
The current law around driving under the influence of cannabis will be replaced with one that is based on cannabinoid levels that correlates with impairment.

Similar to alcohol breath testing, drivers cannot get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle if they are over the legalised limit of cannabinoid levels.

Legalising medical cannabis

The Greens want to remove penalties for anyone with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating conditions who grows, possesses and uses cannabis products for therapeutic purposes as long as they have the support of authorised medical practitioner.

Make licensed medical cannabis products more accessible:
The proposed policy would look to accelerate the process by which medical cannabis products are licensed. The move would direct MedSafe to consider the use of category-based classes common compositions of medical cannabis products.

They want to lower the barriers for manufacturers to submit new cannabis products for funding to Pharmac so that evidence can be quickly gathered and distributed if approved.

Before racing ahead with the referendum, they want to assess evidence from overseas jurisdictions where legal cannabis is sold to determine the best model for New Zealand.

“While waiting for broader law change for cannabis, remove penalties for any person with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, with the support of a registered medical practitioner”, the policy said.