NZ Herald 12 October 2020
Our additional comment: “The message that seems to have got lost in the furious “evil” or “harmless fun” rhetoric of opposing sides is that what’s proposed would be the most grudging of liberalisations. The proposed law is framed in such a way that, if enacted, it could cause almost as much aggravation to those who support legalised cannabis as those who oppose it… A further caveat on voters’ decision is that the legislation could change. This Parliament cannot bind the next with what is still just a draft bill. In contrast, the legislation that would give effect to voluntary euthanasia if the vote there is “yes” has been passed… [T]hose wanting to develop the new commercial industry could be expected to lobby hard to soften some of the proposed restrictions to give them a better chance of viability.
Anyone who approaches the referendum on the legalisation of cannabis in the binary spirit of Roundheads versus Cavaliers is in for a few surprises.
The message that seems to have got lost in the furious “evil” or “harmless fun” rhetoric of opposing sides is that what’s proposed would be the most grudging of liberalisations. The proposed law is framed in such a way that, if enacted, it could cause almost as much aggravation to those who support legalised cannabis as those who oppose it.
Look past the exuberant Rasta colours of its supporters and it’s clear the legislation is predicated on the basis that cannabis use is not good for us. For a not insignificant proportion of users, the evidence shows it’s catastrophically, life-blightingly bad.
The proposed legal framework will enable people to use the drug more freely, but its overarching purpose is to discourage its use. It treats cannabis not as a harmless pleasure, but as a medical threat deserving of intervention.
Those hailing an economic bonanza may be right – but the law would make new cannabis entrepreneurs behave in ways that will be antithetical to their commercial interests. They won’t be allowed to advertise or sell online. As for finding ways to pitch to new demographic segments or grow the market – that’s not the success this legislation is designed to achieve. Again, the purpose is to discourage and reduce use of the drug, not to foster it and not to make it socially acceptable.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/election-2020-cannabis-referendum-smoke-signals-why-supporters-should-be-careful-what-they-vote-for/CC2ULQ2WD7O6KQDHLPJ6CLESNM/