Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

No Vote Not A Vote For Inaction: Decriminalisation Urged

The cannabis referendum result was released today with 46.1% of New Zealanders voting in favour of legalisation, and 53.1% against. The gap will likely close to some degree when remaining votes are counted, but the jury is still out on whether it can close entirely.

However, even those who campaigned for a ‘no’ vote publicly accepted that cannabis use should be treated as a health and social issue, and decriminalised.

“Although a majority of New Zealanders did not vote for the proposed model of legalisation, the debate has shown a clear public desire for legal change in some form” said the Chair of the Drug Foundation, Tuari Potiki, today.

The Drug Foundation notes the strong mandate for decriminalisation that has been evident in public debates on the referendum and calls for an end to criminal penalties for those who use cannabis and other drugs, and for those who grow small quantities of cannabis at home for personal use.

Potiki commented that “The debate has highlighted issues that we can’t now turn our backs on as a country. Even those who campaigned for a ‘no’ vote publicly accepted that cannabis use should be treated as a health and social issue, and decriminalised. These included the Salvation Army, the New Zealand Medical Association and a group of national leaders of most church denominations. It’s time for an overhaul of the Misuse of Drugs Act, which is no longer fit for purpose.”

“The problems caused by prohibition will not disappear by themselves. We cannot stand back and ignore those who carry the greatest burden of the current punitive approach: young people, and Māori. Inaction is not an option: the need for reform is as urgent as ever.”

Today’s outcome also means further action is required to improve access to medicinal cannabis. Patient advocacy organisations were relying on a yes vote to improve access and affordability.

Deputy Chair of the Drug Foundation Khylee Quince commented today, “Medicinal cannabis products are financially out of reach of most New Zealanders, even those who have a life threatening or debilitating condition. Despite the legal medical scheme, many sick and vulnerable patients are still forced to source illicit products, putting them at risk of a conviction. The government must ensure an end to police harassment for users and their support people, and ensure public funding for medical products.”

The Drug Foundation extends their gratitude to the many supportive organisations, professionals and advocates willing to speak up publicly for law reform during the referendum debate, and acknowledges the 1.1 million voters (with more to come) who voted ‘yes’ in support of the improved public health and social justice outcomes that regulation would bring.

“There is a great appetite for reform and the government should seize the opportunity to act now. Many people voted yes not for their personal benefit, but because they find it unacceptable that drug use is treated as a crime, with all the damage that causes to vulnerable people. It’s time to take firm action and begin to treat drug use as a health and social issue.”

 

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On How America’s Middle East Allies Are Poisoning The Ground Joe Biden Will Inherit

As even the US mainstream media has been reporting, the prime motive for the murder of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (by Israeli or Saudi operatives, or both) has been to poison the situation that the next US president will inherit. At best, there was only an outside chance that the incoming Biden administration and the outgoing liberal regime of Iranian PM Hassan Rouhani could have revived the Iran anti-nuclear deal that Rouhani had negotiated in 2015 with Barack Obama. Deliberately though, America’s allies have now made it impossible for Biden to pursue that option... More>>

 

Pill Testing: Govt Moves On Drug Checking To Keep Young New Zealanders Safer This Summer

The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little ... More>>

ALSO:

WorkSafe: 13 Parties Charged Over Whakaari/White Island Tragedy

WorkSafe New Zealand today filed charges against 13 parties in relation to the Whakaari/White Island eruption in December last year. “22 people have lost their lives in this tragic event. WorkSafe is tasked with investigating workplace incidents to determine ... More>>

ALSO:

Pay Gap: Progress On Pay Equity For DHB Staff

Today’s initial agreement between DHBs and the PSA on pay equity for clerical and administration staff is an important step toward better, fairer pay for this crucial and largely female workforce, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:


Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Government: To Declare A Climate Emergency

The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and the type of planet our children will inherit ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels