March 09, 2021
Reti puts cannabis back on agenda
National Party health spokesperson Shane Reti says there needs to be more talk about decriminalising cannabis.
New research out today from the Helen Clark Foundations says 69 percent of voters want cannabis to be decriminalised.
The issue has dropped off the agenda since last year’s referendum found only 49 percent support for legalisation – the same as it is in the latest survey.
Dr Reti has a private bill to be debated in parliament tomorrow which aims to make medicinal cannabis, which is legal, more affordable and accessible.
He says decriminalisation could be a good middle ground.
"The classical model is the Portugal model. I think we need to have a lot of dialogue on that. New Zealanders sent a very clear message on one part of the cannabis reforms and I think we need to have a lot of dialogue on that and actually see some proposals," he says.
Helen Clark Foundation executive director Kathy Errington says the UMR poll suggests the Government has nothing to lose politically from lifting the burden of criminalisation – especially from the young people and Māori who are disproportionately charged for drug offences.
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