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Labour leader promises cannabis referendum

Labour leader promises cannabis referendum

Labour leader Andrew Little is backing a referendum to decriminalise cannabis, despite opposition from his deputy leader.

Mr Little spoke out publicly in favour of the proposal, following a plea from Helen Kelly, to hold referenda on medical and recreational cannabis at the next election.

The Cannabis Party confirmed it had been assisting Labour to prepare the referendum legislation, which would soon be introduced as a private member's bill.

Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford contradicted comments made by Annette King, who said the issue of decriminalising recreational cannabis was "not even being looked at by her party".

"Labour has been consulting actively with the Cannabis Party on recreational cannabis policy for many months," Crawford said.

"It is clear from Mr Little's public statements that he supports the cannabis referendum, despite his deputy's reservations. Mr Little promised Helen Kelly that the relevant legislation would be drafted and entered into the member's ballot."

Mr Little met with the president and leader of the Cannabis Party in Oamaru and Dunedin in early 2016. He also met with the deputy leader of the Cannabis Party at Parliament in 2015. On each occasion he declared that referenda on medical and recreational cannabis were planned by Labour for the next election.

Only a referendum created by an Act of Parliament can be binding.

ENDS

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