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Green Party welcome binding referendum on cannabis

The Green Party welcomes the binding referendum on recreational cannabis at the 2020 election as announced by Justice Minister Andrew Little today. 

“This is part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement and something the Green Party has worked towards for many years”, Green Party drug law reform spokesperson Chloe Swarbrick said today. 

“At present, we know illicit cannabis use occurs throughout the country, without any harm reduction measures nor support. There’s no quality control, exacerbating risks to health, and the drug is sold by gangs fuelling violence and associated criminality in our communities. 

“Illegal substances are exactly the opposite of controlled substances. Cannabis needs to be regulated. 

“We don’t have the re-invent the wheel here, because we have the opportunity to look at best-practice frameworks around the world that minimise harm. 

“We want to avoid a scheme that repeats the problems we have with the alcohol industry or with corporate pharmaceuticals. Any model that prioritises profit – whether in the black market or by big business – typically puts people and safety second. We want community control and regulation that reduces harm.   

“We’ve had countless opinion polls for decades now, confirming New Zealanders are positively well ahead of political action on the issue of cannabis law reform. This binding referendum presents an opportunity to have the will of the people trigger meaningful legislative change.”