Drug Law Reform Policy

Key Principles

The Green Party recognises that:

  • Drug policy should be rational and based on credible and scientifically-valid evidence.
  • There can be adverse health, social and economic consequences from the use of drugs for both individuals and society.
  • Not all drug use is problematic.
  • Some individuals in society will choose to use drugs, regardless of their legal status.
  • Prohibition of drugs can cause more harm that it prevents.
  • Drug policy should have a primary focus on improving public health instead of trying to punish users.

Specific Policy Points

Health promotion and reducing harm

  • Evidence-based and age-appropriate drug education in schools; and non-judgemental evidence-based information available through health services and point of sale.
  • Implement recommendations of the Law Commission on the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
  • Re-evaluate the relative harms and appropriate legal and regulatory status of psychoactive substances.
  • Support policies to minimise harm caused by drug use – for example needle exchange schemes.
  • Sufficient resources for rehabilitation services and other programmes that provide help rather than punishment for people with drug problems.

Cannabis (including medicinal cannabis)

  • Make cannabis legal for personal use, including possession and cultivation.
  • Introduce a legal age limit for personal use.
  • Assess evidence from overseas jurisdictions with legal cannabis markets to determine the best model for New Zealand.
  • While waiting for broader law change for cannabis, remove penalties for any person with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, with the support of a registered medical practitioner.
  • Accelerate the process by which medical cannabis products are licensed for use.
  • Lower barriers for manufacturers to submit new cannabis products for funding applications to PHARMAC.

Alcohol and Tobacco

  • Retain blood alcohol limit at 50mg per 100ml for adults aged 20 and over (the currently-recognised medical definition of intoxication).
  • Phase out all broadcast, billboard and print advertising of alcoholic beverages, and sponsorship by alcohol brands.
  • Keep purchase age for alcohol at 18.
  • Set a minimum price for alcohol and replace the current alcohol tax regime with a tax that is directly proportional to the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink.
  • Commitment to the Smokefree Aotearoa goal, supported by further extension of the Smokefree Environments Act, plain packaging of tobacco products, and further taxation increases.

See the full policy here

Cannabis - it's time to change our cannabis laws

New Zealanders deserve a positive and solutions-focused discussion on access to medicinal cannabis, which should be legal, and affordable.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter has a members’ bill before parliament which would legalise access to cannabis products for New Zealanders suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition.

Find out more here