The Green Party says New Zealanders now have a clear vision of how a safe, regulated cannabis market would work in Aotearoa, with the release of the final version of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
The bill is one of two referendums being voted on at this year’s election and was released in draft form in December last year.
“This final bill sets out in detail how we regulate cannabis for healthier communities: this is an evidence-based, harm-reduction approach, to control access and produce better justice and mental health outcomes across Aotearoa,” said Green Party Drug Reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick.
“Cannabis prohibition has left us with a dangerous, unregulated black-market which puts at-risk communities and young people in danger. It’s only pushed the issue out of sight, where it’s bloomed in the shadows.
“This bill is the framework for game-changing regulation. It includes controls over who can purchase cannabis, requirements for education of users, standards to hold licence to sell cannabis, and the establishment of a regulatory authority to monitor sale and supply.
“The question facing New Zealanders is: do we want to continue to empower black market, unregulated chaos, or do we want to implement safety standards, duties of care and ease of access to help for those who need it?
“Do we want to keep pouring millions of dollars in public resources into policing prohibition, branding nearly 4,000 New Zealanders per year with low level cannabis convictions, and denying them the grown-up, practical solution of regulation?
“By voting ‘yes’ to regulate cannabis at this referendum, we can leave the chaos of prohibition behind and make Aotearoa a safer country for all of us.
“That decision is no longer a political football. It’s in the hands of New Zealanders.”