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Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Supports Cannabis Referendum

On Friday 25 September 2020, the Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Board moved a motion to support the Cannabis legalisation and control referendum and explore the establishment of a medicinal marijuana project within Ngāti Kahungunu.

Previously we have supported the growing of hemp for medicinal and nutritional purposes through Te Taiwhenua o Tāmaki-nui-ā-Rua who are well down the track in their due diligence of this project and have strong relationships with Massey University, other growers and Hemp Sun of China, one of the biggest producers of both nutritional and medicinal products from the production of hemp.

Ngāti Kahungunu supports the referendum to legalise marijuanna on many issues knowing there are also misgivings around it. The first one is that in the justice system Māori are more likely to be apprehended, arrested, incarcerated and get longer sentences then non-Māori for the possession of marijuana. Statistics and empirical data shows us that Māori are six times more likely to get arrested for marijuana then non-Māori and they are six times more likely to get a custodial or corrective sentence then non-Māori and are six times more likely to get a longer sentence then non-Māori. It’s clogging up the justice system, clogging up police work, clogging up corrections and prisons where police and other justice operations should be more targeted at deadly crime like (P) methamphetamine, domestic violence and other such whānau oppressive activities.

In the marijuana debate it has been established that it does have impacts and effects on health and we as Ngāti Kahungunu believe that this is a health issue not a criminal issue. We also support the exploration and establishment of medical cannabis facilities within Ngāti Kahungunu as it has been proven world-wide that the beneficial health effects and impacts it has on individuals and families. We will explore the industrial production of medicinal cannabis in order to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

We do not make this decision lightly. We do not make it frivolously. We do it in order to heighten the awareness of our people to other elements within our society, some of which are legal, that cause more damage to whānau than marijuana, including alcohol, nicotine and methamphetamine which has dire outcomes on the wellbeing of our whānau and mokopuna.

Marijuana has been present in our communities (Māori and non-Māori) for many years. These communities and the individuals within them continue to be gainfully employed and to be positive contributors to our communities.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Board urges everyone to think very carefully about whether you support or do not support our position. The main thing is, to have your say, and we invite your critical support or otherwise and constructive criticism around our stance.

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