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Cannabis debate heads for Ohariu-Belmont

Cannabis debate heads for Ohariu-Belmont

Green MP Nandor Tanczos and Jim Anderton will be heading to Ohariu-Belmont to debate cannabis law reform.

Nandor and Mr Anderton engaged in a lively and thoughtful debate on Tuesday night in the Wigram electorate, an event that drew a packed house of around 230 people.

Following the debate Mr Anderton commented that "it would be wrong if the good people of Ohariu-Belmont did not have the opportunity to participate in a similar open discussion". Nandor, the Green spokesperson for cannabis law reform, said he agreed entirely.

"Let's give the people of Ohariu-Belmont a chance to listen to the debate that their own MP didn't want them to hear," said Nandor.

"The huge turn-out in Wigram just showed the enormous public interest in hearing the facts. People want the chance to make up their own minds, and MPs have a responsibility to facilitate rather than stifle public debate."

Nandor said that while he and Mr Anderton disagreed on the best policy to reduce abuse of cannabis, the important thing was that the public got access to the facts, and to the different points of view.

"We've already had a lot of interest from people in Ohariu-Belmont in attending. I think that people will draw their own conclusions about the fact that Mr Dunne has made locking-in cannabis prohibition a bottom line issue, yet is not prepared to publicly defend or even explain his position.

"The amazing thing is that Mr Dunne told the Health Select Committee inquiry into cannabis that the current policy is not working, yet he opposes any change. Maybe his inability to reconcile his own statements is preventing him from accepting," said Nandor.

Nandor said he will make sure a chair remains empty on stage, in case Mr Dunne changes his mind.

Details for the Ohariu-Belmont debate are yet to be finalised. Nandor has accepted an invitation from Progressive MP Matt Robson to debate the issue of cannabis law reform in South Auckland.

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