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Cannabis conscience possible in new parliament

Media Release
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
20 September 2005

Cannabis conscience possible in new parliament

It is a victory that cannabis is on the agenda in the talks forming the next government and that cannabis will once again define the composition of the new Government.

The cannabis issue acts as a barometer of public opinion, and the evidence base for reform remains strong in the face of massive mega-dollar prohibitionist hate campaigns.

"It is apparent that our votes have largely gone to Labour, Greens and Maori Party this time," said ALCP Leader Michael Appleby. "We congratulate those parties and understand the need for tactical voting under the circumstances. We also take heart in the strong split-vote differentials earned by our 6 electorate candidates." (2156 candidate votes in 6 electorates, far in excess of the 592 provisional Cannabis 'party' votes in those 6 electorates).

"That trend shows there is respect for our candidates, and speaks volumes about the cannabis sentiment that is bubbling under the 5% MMP threshold," said Mr Appleby. "I congratulate the Greens for passing 5% and am very optimistic that the special votes will favour Nandor Tanczos' re-election as the 7th Green MP.

Parties supportive of a conscience position on cannabis appear to hold a majority over the hard-line 'head in sand' prohibition parties (National, NZF and United Future). Given that there were recommendations supportive of an evidence-based legal status, from two major select committee inquiries over the last three parliaments, the ALCP say there is a good faith obligation for the due process law review started by Labour and Greens in 2000 to be properly resolved.

The 2000-2003 cannabis 'legal status' inquiry and review was buried by the last Parliament following Labour's 2002 coalition support agreement with United Future stating "no change to the cannabis legal status in this term."

The ALCP points out that United Future were rewarded on election night with the loss of five of its eight MPs.

"Democratically speaking, the long-overdue conscience votes on cannabis deserve to be back on Government's programme."

ENDS

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