I recently requested a face-to-face meeting with my local electorate MP (from an opposition party), to discuss current issues around cannabis law.. with the view to lobbying support. I just received the ‘official’ reply (from her office).. I did not get my meeting, BUT there was a reply (apparently directly from the MPs desk), that seems to be supportive of the issue. Here are a few key points :
1) the party see the issue as a conscience vote (the individual MPs get to vote on their own beliefs, as opposed to the will of the party exec.)
2) they see this issue as a health issue, NOT a criminal justice one
3) the party broadly support the NZ Law Commission review of the current/outdated ‘misuse of drugs act 1975’ reported to parliament in 2013, but mostly ignored by the current Government
4) they plan to replace the current laws (if they get into power at the next election ?) with more modern legislation, based on the Law Commission’s recommendations
5) they support a review of the medicinal use of cannabis (currently only available as a pharmaceutical extract) with the possibility of further regulated use (natural plant ?). It is stated that the current prescribing regime is unnecessarily restrictive, including the price (not covered by Govt. discounts funding ‘Pharmac’)
6) the public debate needs to occur around personal use. The MP said she ‘leans toward supporting decriminalisation‘, based on sound evidence & public input
I for one welcome these comments.. whilst they are only small steps, they are definitely indicating a move in the positive direction !