New Zealand ready to legalise cannabis in 2020

New Zealand ready to legalise cannabis in 2020

New Zealand looks set to give cannabis the green light from 2020 as a wave of support for legalisation sweeps the nation.

Kiwis face a referendum in 2020 that would
fast-track legislation to make marijuana completely legal.

Several polls reveal the vote could easily be
a landslide victory for those backing the reforms.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

The ‘yes’ campaign is being spearheaded by New
Zealand’s well-respected former Prime Minister – Helen Clark – who is currently
dedicating her work to urging the country’s five million residents to vote for
legalisation.

She’s also recommending the government overturn minor cannabis-related convictions while creating a responsible and legal marijuana market.

Mrs Clark told a local radio station that the
country she once led needed to “face reality” and embrace a well-regulated
cannabis market.

“Get some of the facts out on the table, rather than having myths dominate the debate,” she said, revealing that four out of five New Zealand adults have used cannabis.

“They know their hair doesn’t go green and their teeth don’t fall out – it’s significantly less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol.”

Ineffective ban

The politician added that a blanket ban on marijuana has been utterly ineffective, and pushed for a solution via regulation.

“Our solution would be to be much
more regulated than places like Colorado because of our experiences with
tobacco and alcohol,” she said.

“You don’t want to create another big tobacco and big alcohol industry that’s going to promote things that obviously have some potential for harm.”

Limits on advertising, age and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) were among
Clark’s proposed regulations to help control and monitor something that she says
will be used widely by the population whether legal or otherwise.

“Isn’t this a waste of the justice
system’s time and money? Haven’t the police got better things to do?” she
asked.

“Aren’t we better to face the reality that 80 per cent of Kiwis are going to try this at some point in their lives?”

Criminalisation

Her words were echoed by the Helen
Clark Foundation executive director Kathy Errington, who also argued that criminalisation
was not an appropriate use of the justice system.

“Our analysis argues that the
disproportionately adverse effects of current policies justify putting in place
legislation and effective regulation,” she explained.

“Cannabis should be treated as a
health and social issue, not a criminal one. The status quo is exacerbating its
harm.

“Our answer is that we should move
to a health-based approach with robust regulation, effective public health
education and adequate service provision.”

She also highlighted the issue that
almost half of New Zealand’s drug possession convictions involved the country’s
indigenous Maori community, predominantly between the ages of 17 and 25.

“The current approach to cannabis
inflicts excessive punishment on those who face prosecution who, in turn, are
disproportionately Maori,” she said.

“The legal prohibition on cannabis
also drives people towards more potent and riskier substances.”

A report by the foundation also urges
the government to:

• Expunge prior minor cannabis offences
from the record and remove past convictions for supply where there is no
compounding factor associated with the conviction, such as firearm use or
violence;

• Legislate for the regulation of, and
access to, a legal cannabis market. Models from both Uruguay and North America
should be seriously studied;

• Develop a structure for a legal
market which prevents and/or discourages the emergence of large, commercial,
for-profit cannabis producers and retailers;

• Ensure that the needs of the individuals and communities most affected by the current policy of prohibition on cannabis use are carefully considered when implementing and monitoring the legal market, and that these communities have equitable access to become producers and retailers within the legal market.

Doobie, or not doobie? That’s the question about William Shakespeare’s cannabis use…

https://cbd.local/doobie-or-not-doobie-was-shakespeare-stoned/

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