The Green Party supports evidence-based, compassionate drug law reform that reduces harm. We support a “yes” vote in the referendum to legalise and control cannabis. It’s time to regulate the sale and use of cannabis in Aotearoa, because the current approach hasn’t worked to minimise harm.
Drugs are a health, housing, employment, and education issue. Criminalising people doesn’t solve any of those problems.
Both legal and illegal drugs can cause harm, especially if used to excess or at a young age. Our social and legal response can either increase or decrease that harm.
We know prohibition fuels organised crime and causes far more damage than it prevents.
Many people in Aotearoa use cannabis, but a lack of sensible regulation means people put their lives at risk by using substances of unknown potency from unknown sources.
The Green Party supports the legalisation and regulation of personal use of cannabis in ways that reduce harm to users, their families, and communities, as provided by the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
Why legalisation and not decriminalisation?
Decriminalisation would leave control over things like age limits, the potency of cannabis, and how much someone can buy, in the hands of the black market. Cannabis would still be grown and sold by an unregulated black market.
By legalising and regulating cannabis, we can set an age limit, potency limits, and daily purchase limits. We can make sure commercial growers and retailers are licensed, have restricted trading hours, and can’t operate next to schools. Illegal drug dealers don’t check IDs to see how old their customers are, but regulated cannabis shops will.
Legalisation also enables the government to collect tax from cannabis. The tax raised would be able to go towards health, education and rehabilitation services.
You can also find out more about the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill by:
- Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s “What Does the Evidence Say?” website,
- Drug Foundation website or by
- Watching Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick debate National MP Nick Smith about cannabis.
So you can make an informed decision about how you would like to vote, see below what the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill proposes, as outlined by referendums.govt.nz.
The Bill regulates the sale and consumption of cannabis
The Bill would allow people to possess and consume cannabis in limited circumstances.
A person aged 20 or over would be able to:
- buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day only from licensed outlets
- enter licensed premises where cannabis is sold or consumed
- consume cannabis on private property or at licensed premises
- grow up to 2 plants, with a maximum of 4 plants per household
- share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.
The Bill's purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities
The Bill intends to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities by:
- providing access to legal cannabis that meets quality and potency requirements
- eliminating the illegal supply of cannabis
- raising awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use
- restricting young people's access to cannabis
- limiting the public visibility of cannabis
- requiring health warnings on packaging and at the time of purchase
- improving access to health and social services, and other kinds of support for families/whānau
- making sure the response to any breach of the law is fair.
The Bill controls the production and supply of cannabis
The Bill would regulate how cannabis is produced and supplied by:
- limiting the total amount of licensed cannabis for sale
- controlling the potency and contents of licensed cannabis and cannabis products
- applying an excise tax when a product is packaged and labelled for sale
- setting up a licensing system under which all cannabis-related businesses must hold a license
- regulating location and trading hours for premises where cannabis is sold or consumed, in consultation with local communities
- banning people from importing cannabis and allowing only licensed businesses to import cannabis seeds
- separating businesses that are licensed to grow cannabis and produce cannabis products from businesses that are licensed to operate premises where cannabis can be sold and consumed.
Find out more on the details of the referendum of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill at vote.nz