Click here for our 2020 Election Priorities for Drug Law Reform


Drug use should be treated as a health issue and the Government’s focus should be on reducing harm to New Zealanders. Drugs can cause harm but not all drug use is problematic.

Drug policy should focus on harm-reduction and be a health issue

  • Government funding should shift to addiction treatment and rehabilitation programmes, which should be widely available.
  • Needle and syringe exchanges, and safe places for using drugs, should be encouraged.
  • All the Law Commission’s relevant recommendations should be implemented.
  • Prohibition and punishment can cause more harm than they prevent. Improving public health should be the government’s goal, through funding education and rehabilitation.

Cannabis should be legal for personal use

  • There should be an age limit for possession and cultivation for personal use.
  • A regulated market should be designed taking into account evidence from other countries about what has and has not worked well.
  • Cannabis smoking should be prohibited everywhere that tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Medicinal cannabis should be available

  • Penalties should immediately be removed for people with terminal illnesses, chronic or debilitating conditions who possess or cultivate cannabis for personal use, and for people who do this on behalf of someone else.
  • The health system should be streamlined to accelerate the availability of medicinal cannabis products, such as lowering barriers in MedSafe and PHARMAC.

Alcohol should be legal, regulated, and taxed

  • 18 should remain the legal age for the purchase of alcohol. This should be strongly enforced.
  • The blood alcohol limit for drivers over 20 should be kept at 50 mg per 100 ml.
  • All alcohol advertising and sponsorship should be phased out.
  • Alcohol taxes should reflect the alcoholic strength of a drink, and be progressively raised to cover the social costs of alcohol use.

The Green Party supports the Smokefree Aotearoa goal

  • Tobacco should not be prohibited, but we support plain packaging, tax increases, extension of the Smokefree Environments legislation, and restrictions on sale of tobacco.
  • Non-tobacco based nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, should be assessed according to harm-reduction principles.
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