High time for Reefer Referendum by Abe Grey

The New Zealand Government needs to
front up with New Zealanders about the
plans for the upcoming adult use cannabis
referendum. With the new Government’s
promise of action to legalise medicinal
cannabis in the first 100 days
metastasising into possibly having
something in place after 1000 days it is
imperative that the coalition comes clean
on it’s intentions to allow the public to
vote on taking cannabis law reform further
still.

What is the point of taking so long
to come up with a medical cannabis
licensing and dispensing regime if it is only
to be made redundant merely months
later by a nationwide popular vote on
allowing any adult to possess and use
cannabis for any purpose? (er because it
would place pot in the hands of corporate
control – enhancing corporate prifit but of
actually reducing social harm Editors note.)
The disingenuousness exhibited by our
current parliamentarians on the Medicinal
Cannabis question does not bode well for
New Zealand society getting the most out
of this unique, once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to have a Governmentinitiated
popular vote on this long
festering social issue.

This referendum has
been concretely committed to so it will
definitely be happening and it is exciting a
wide and bi-partisan cross section of New
Zealand citizens.
Since this will be a Government initiated
referendum and not a citizens initiated
referendum it presents unique advantages
that can make such a legislative change
fair, meaningful and enduring. The fact
that this has not been explained to the
public by the Attorney General, and that
no consultation around this referendum
has been undertaken, planned or even
budgeted for into late 2019 should worry
everyone.

After a Law Commission
review recommending simple immediate
reform solutions almost 10 years ago and
a commitment to completely overhaul the
Misuse of Drugs Act (to make it fit for
purpose in the 21st century and not 1975
when it was written) which has been
kicked to touch now 3 Parliamentary terms
in a row, it is unconscionable that the
current Government coalition partners
would squander our country’s best
opportunity to move forward, out of
incompetence and laziness, or worse,
malice.

DEADLINE GUEST SPEAKER Abe Grey is a long time DJ and
news reader for Radio One the director of
theWhakamana Cannabis Museum of
Aotearoa is New Zealand’s first museum
dedicated to the history of cannabis use
and culture. It was opened in October originally located in David Street, Caversham, Dunedin the museum is now
located in the Eldon Chambers building at
192 Princes St, Dunedin.

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