I have written (via email) to several MPs in the NZ Parliament, to canvass their views on Cannabis Law reform. It seems that unlike USA, who seem to be now saying “Yes, we Can(nabis)” the majority of politicians in Aotearoa/NZ are still saying “NO we Canna-NOT”. Whilst there does seem to be changing opinions on Medicinal use (after a members bill failed to pass 1st reading in 2009).. the idea of allowing ADULTS to use Natural Cannabis for personal/recreational use, in the privacy of their own home.. still seems squarely in the ‘NO’ or ‘Too Hard’ baskets.
According to replies I’ve had & comments in the media, this is my understanding of their responses :
1) Current Govt. (National Party – 59 MPs) – the PM has effectively said “NO to law reform” & all his MPs fell in behind (apparently either agreeing with him OR agreeing to not to say anything opposed to this. (“ZEIG HILE” ?))
2) The main Opposition Party (Labour Party – 32 MPs) – seems to have a split, but at least the MPs are allowed to say which side they sit on.
3) The Green Party (Opposition – 14 MPs) – have always had a ‘Pro-Law reform’ policy, but in recent times it has slipped down their agenda list & is rarely if ever mentioned. BUT when asked in the media, most MPs admit having tried the drug & still seem to support the law reform option.
4) NZ-First party (Opposition – 12 MPs) – appear to not really support law reform, but have said they would support a Referendum & support it if the result is ‘YES’ to law reform.
5) The Maori party (Govt. coalition -2 MPs) – seem to only support the idea of medicinal use. This is interesting in that the highest level of arrests for drugs, is amongst the people they say they represent.
6) ACT Party (Govt. coalition – 1 MP) – seem to take the libertarian view, BUT the current leader is sitting on the fence, because ‘his master’ (PM) is unsupportive.
7) United Future party (Govt. Coalition – 1 MP) This MP is the Associate Health Minister – responsible for Drug Policy, but appears to just ‘follow his master’ (PM) on the ‘no law reform’ agenda. It is interesting that he did ‘champion’ a short-lived law, that allowed regulation of Synthetic Cannabinoids & other ‘Legal highs’ (now repealed, after public protest/outcry). He stated that ‘these drugs are Low risk’ BUT refused to allow ‘Natural Cannabis’ to be included, claiming it would contravene UN conventions & would likely NOT pass the test for ‘Low Risk’ (or did he have another agenda ?) This MP has admitted in the past, that he tried cannabis in his youth !
BUT finally; I watched an episode of NZ ‘Politics in the Pub’ a while ago, they had the ‘Young/future leaders’ of these parties & everyone admitted, having tried cannabis & saying that they support law reform.. so I’m presuming that one day NZ MPs may have the guts to follow USA & say “Yes, we can” too ?