November 01, 2020
Maori hopes dashed in cannabis count
Māori are counting the costs of the failed cannabis referendum â€“ including continued risks from the criminal justice system and quashed economics.
Just over 53 per cent of voters were against going through with a draft law to regulate the growing and sale of cannabis for legal use.
New Zealand Drug Foundation deputy chair Kylee Quince says Maori have been most affected by the negative impact of drug laws, which is why pre-referendum polling showed them backing the reform by about 60-40.
The rejected law also included provisions giving Maori preferential entry to the new economy.
"We’ve seen already in the last couple of years since this was on the legislative agenda that Maori communities are really interested in that, A number of groups around the motu were starting companies with a view to entering the legalised market. That rug has been pulled out from under those communities that were interested," Associate Professor Quince says.
Khylee Quince says despite the vote being lost the pressure needs to stay on for addressing the deep-seated racism in the enforcement of drug and other laws.
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