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First NZ Conference on Cannabis Referendum Announced

First NZ Conference on Cannabis Referendum Announced: “#makeitlegal”

9 November, 2018, 8.30am to 6.30pm
James Cook Hotel, Wellington
Registration $91.50+bf from Eventfinda - https://bit.ly/2J3cxPl

The Cannabis Referendum Coalition announces the first New Zealand Conference on Cannabis Referendum. The Conference will feature panel discussions, and offer an opportunity to engage in dialogue around the forthcoming referendum.

Featuring MPs Chlöe Swarbrick, Greg O'Connor and Ginny Anderson; Rebecca Reider, Dr Eric Crampton, Manu Caddie, Dr Fiona Hutton, Nandor Tanczos and the Cannabis Coalition team with more speakers and full timetable to be announced.

Cannabis legalisation is the goal of the Cannabis Referendum Coalition, formed this year to win the promised referendum on legalising personal use of cannabis.

The conference will open with a panel discussion on what has been learned from this year’s debate on medicinal cannabis. Panellists include Chlöe Swarbrick MP, Manu Caddie, Shane Le Brun and Rebecca Reider.

“The referendum question needs to not only gauge support for legalising adult, personal use – but also to canvas public support for a regulated market allowing legal supply and sale of cannabis,” says coordinator Sandi Murray.

“Asking the public to show support for personal use without providing information on the mechanism for obtaining supply would be a pointless exercise. We expect the public to show strong support for cannabis law reform, and a vote to legalise should be implemented immediately by the government”.

“The conference will look at a range of legalising options, including “Grow Your Own”, Cannabis Social Clubs and moving to allow legal, licenced growers and licenced sellers,” says conference organiser Phil Saxby.

The Regulated Market model would be presented by Greg O’Connor MP and Dr Eric Crampton.

A panel of MPs will discuss the mechanism of the referendum itself, and the sort of education process that will precede the vote. To date, no decisions have been announced on the timing or the format of the cannabis referendum.

“Our goal at the conference is to support and bring together the many groups and individuals who want an end to failed prohibitionist policies,” said Ms Murray. “We will facilitate campaign planning in the afternoon session to build a networked campaign among supporters”.

“Uruguay led the world with full legalisation of cannabis,” says Mr Saxby. “With Canada and South Africa both recently moving to legalise cannabis, and some Commonwealth countries and many American States following suit, it’s time for a change in Aotearoa New Zealand, to end this destructive and failed law and #makeitlegal.”

Other speakers at the conference will include Dr Fiona Hutton and Nándor Tánczos.

List of confirmed speakers (alphabetical)

Ginny Anderson is the Labour list MP based in Hutt South, Governance & Administration Committee Deputy-Chair, and a Justice Committee member. Before becoming an MP, she worked in Parliament as a private secretary and senior political adviser, in the Office of Treaty Settlements in negotiations and policy, and for the NZ Police in reducing harm from gangs, organised crime and methamphetamine.

Manu Caddie is managing director of Hikurangi Enterprises, which has 5000 plants ready for harvest in Ruatoria north of Gisborne. If the Government passes medicinal cannabis legislation this year that allows for the commercialisation of medicinal cannabis crops, Hikurangi would be the industry's first legal grower.

Dr Eric Crampton is Chief Economist with the New Zealand Initiative in Wellington. He is a prominent commenter on the economics of public health and the economics of drug policy. He is author of several reports with the Initiative, including work on post-earthquake policy in Christchurch, regulatory responses to digital innovation, and regional policy trials. From 2003 through 2014, he served as lecturer and senior lecturer with the Department of Economics at the University of Canterbury.

Shane Le Brun comes from a military background and admits to a narrow-minded view of medicinal cannabis at one time. That changed when his wife Kat injured her lower back and was left with chronic pain. He now promotes community awareness of the medicinal uses of cannabis, having established the charity Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand to “Put People before Politics”.

Greg O’Connor was elected last year as the Labour MP for Ōhāriu, representing Wellington’s north western suburbs. Before coming to Parliament, Greg represented the Police Association for 2 decades and is a proven advocate for people. At Parliament he sits on the Justice and Social Services & Community select committees. He has experience in the law and order and disability sectors, and a long-term interest in drug law reform issues.

Rebecca Reider is a dedicated cannabis campaigner, as well as a journalist, administrator and editor. She has used cannabis medicinally for many years for a chronic health condition. In 2015, the NZ Police raided her home and decided to prosecute her on a long list of cannabis charges. Her court case set off a chain of events that briefly opened an import pathway, and in 2016 Rebecca became the first person to legally possess raw herbal cannabis in New Zealand in over 50 years.

Chlöe Swarbrick is a New Zealand politician and entrepreneur. Following a high-profile but unsuccessful run for the 2016 Auckland mayoral election, she became Maungakiekie candidate for the Green Party and was elected in 2017 for the Party List. Chloe promoted a private members’ Bill on medicinal cannabis in 2018, achieving considerable support for the Bill.

Nándor Tánczos is an English-born social ecologist, researcher, educator, activist and political commentator. He is currently a councillor in the Whakatane District and Chair of Permaculture in New Zealand. He is also co-director of He Puna Manawa social and political change agency. He was an MP from 1999-2008 and represented the Green Party, putting forward NZ’s first private members Bill on cannabis law reform.


Presented by the Cannabis Referendum Coalition with support from NORML NZ, The Hemp Foundation, Socialist Aotearoa, People Against Prisons, Auckland Patients Group.

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