I watched a current affairs TV program this morning.. a recently formed coalition party/partnership agreement, was being said to be on the verge of a split; over cannabis policy. The coalition (of two parties) is made up of a party, which the leader had apparently stated previously, he was totally opposed to law reform.. the other party/partner has made it clear they support a law reform agenda. The two leaders (Co-leaders of the alliance) were asked bluntly, for their positions :
1) one ‘co-leader’ said, he supports medicinal ‘marijuana’/cannabis & was willing to see a complete review of personal use of Cannabis, Alcohol & Tobacco.. he questioned why one drug (tobacco) was widely available & responsible for 5000 deaths per annum in NZ, whilst another (cannabis) was illegal & $100mil per year was spent on prohibiting it, would be better spent on other issues eg relieving poverty
2) the other ‘co-leader’ said her partner-party was also in favour of medicinal use, BUT also decrim. personal use of cannabis. She mentioned that the current Govt. had introduced laws to allow synthetic cannabis (now repealed & under review) but excluded natural cannabis. (which most people, see as less harmful) She said that it needs to be taken away from the black-market & dealt with as a health issue, not a criminal issue. She stated that this was of interest to many people & had to be clear !
The interviewer asked whether this law change would see ‘DAK’ (slang name) being sold in the cities & towns Aotearoa/NZ & were they both happy with this. Both Co-leaders said widespread sale, was not on their agenda.. BUT this had happened with synthetics & they would not want to see natural cannabis sold in ‘dairies’ (grocery shops) & would only be available under strict regulation !
Interestingly at least one other party has also called for cannabis law reform (long term policy).. BUT it has fallen off the priority agenda in recent times.