National leader Todd Muller signals cannabis legislation will have his support if New Zealand votes ‘yes’

By May 26, 2020 Recent News

Stuff 26 May 2020
National leader Todd Muller says his party will likely support the legalisation of cannabis if New Zealand votes “yes” in the upcoming referendum.

National has previously declined to commit to enacting the result of the non-binding cannabis referendum, which will be voted on in September as part of the 2020 election.

But Muller signalled a softer stance on Tuesday, before his first caucus meeting after ousting Simon Bridges from the leadership, indicating he would legalise cannabis “if the people have spoken” in support.

The bill being proposed by the Labour-led Government would allow cannabis to be consumed, sold, and purchased for recreational use, by people 20 years or older. Personal possession of 14 grams of cannabis, the sale of cannabis edibles, and growing up to four cannabis plants per household would be allowed.

The 14-gram limit became subject of political theatre in December, with former National deputy leader Paula Bennett holding up a bag of oregano in the House, decrying the amount as far too high.

Bridges, who was booted from the leadership by fellow MPs on Friday, was unwilling to directly commit to passing the legislation if it were supported by the public — saying in May 2019 he would not deal with “hypotheticals”.

While Muller said the caucus was yet produce a “finely distilled” perspective, he had a “belief that if the people have spoken, and given a pretty clear steer that they support it, then we need to take very strong cognisance of that, in terms of the legislative changes that will then follow”.

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