Today the Government released the draft bill for the 2020 cannabis referendum. We are pleased to announce that some of Health not Handcuffs’ key recommendations are reflected in the Bill:
- Cannabis will be treated as a health issue, not a criminal issue
- An end to pointless convictions and discrimination
- Police resources will be spent on serious crime
- Taxes collected from a regulated industry will be redirected to cannabis harm reduction measures; and
- Adults who choose to consume will have access to safer, regulated products.
The bill will address the key harms caused by cannabis prohibition. Under the status quo, New Zealanders miss out on drug treatment, with thousands receiving a conviction or even jail for cannabis use each year. Meanwhile, the nearly half a million Kiwis who consume cannabis are using a product with no quality or potency controls.
The Bill recognises we can only control cannabis if access and use are regulated, as we do with alcohol. Government will control the whole supply chain with licensing and quality control checks at every point in the process. Cannabis will only be sold in licensed venues and public consumption will not be allowed. In fact, the proposals reflect a better public health approach than we have for alcohol, with controls around pricing and a complete ban on advertising.
Importantly, the Bill ensures cannabis will not be legally available to people under 20. Products will be clearly labelled and the potency of products will be regulated and controlled. There’ll be child-proof packaging, and taxes will be used to fund cannabis harm reduction measures.
A Yes Vote for this bill will help us protect our young people, and look after those with drug dependency issues. It will mean fewer lives ruined by convictions, and more people with the tools to make healthy choices for themselves and their whānau.
It’s a huge ‘yes’ from Health Not Handcuffs. Make sure you’re enrolled to vote and get talking to your friends and family about the bill this holiday season. Find out how.