What's this about a referendum?
The government has promised to hold a referendum on legalising the adult use of cannabis at the 2020 election. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change NZ's approach to the illegal drug Kiwis use most.
What is the Government proposing?
We all know that prohibition doesn’t work - New Zealand has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. Legalising cannabis means we can create tight regulations to control products and protect health and human rights.
The law we’ll be voting on at next year’s referendum has a clear health focus:
- The Government will control every step of the supply chain to minimise harm
- Products will have clear labels, and potency will be regulated and controlled
- Sales will be restricted to those aged 20+ years
- Taxes collected from cannabis sales will be redistributed to health and education
With this law in place, Police resources will be redirected to focus on more serious crime, breaking the illicit model and minimising criminal exposure to youth. Drug Driving will continue to be illegal and more resources will be directed towards roadside testing.
Legalising cannabis is the right way to go
Cannabis is really easy for anyone to get hold of in New Zealand, and more than 400,000 people use it each year. So we know that prohibition doesn’t work. The only ones who really benefit from the current system are criminals.
In New Zealand we waste Police resources every day convicting vulnerable people for using a substance that is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.
The only way to fix this is by controlling cannabis. That means legalising, regulating and taxing it, as we do with alcohol.
Act now - there is lots you can do to help
In the run up to the referendum we'll be concentrating on making sure all Kiwis know the facts about cannabis - the good and the bad. We want to make sure they know what they're voting for, and why. But we can't do it without help - and that's where you come in!
If you want to be involved, sign up to join Health not Handcuffs. For now we're encouraging people to get up to speed on the issues and get chatting to others about cannabis. As the referendum approaches, we'll add in other things you can do. And we hope you'll send in your ideas too. This opportunity is too important to ignore - let's make sure we get it right!