The Green Party is calling on the Government to follow President Joe Biden’s lead and decriminalise cannabis.
“Over 120,000 New Zealanders have been prosecuted for cannabis possession or use since 1980. More than 80% of New Zealanders have used cannabis by the time they’re out of their teens.
“Even the most ardent opposition to cannabis legalisation argued throughout the referendum that it shouldn’t be a criminal offence. Now, even the birthplace of the “War on Drugs” is admitting they’ve failed,” says the Green Party’s drug reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick.
“Our country continues to spend four times as much on criminal punishment than health based approaches.
“The 2020 referendum proposed a very specific prescription of cannabis legalisation which was negotiated by the Government - with input from the opposition - at the time. The narrow referendum result does not rule out the need for tackling drug harm, which even the opposition admitted we need a change in approach to.
“As long as we retain the Misuse of Drugs Act, as long as we push these issues out of sight and out of mind, we cannot pretend we are taking a health based approach to drugs in Aotearoa.
“It’s time for Labour to walk their talk and decriminalise as a step towards sensible drug regulation, something which even the National party had to accept during the cannabis referendum debate,” says Chlöe Swarbrick.