In response to Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil Peter Dunne was engaged in a Twitter exchange. In this he made it clear there has been no chance of successive New Zealand governments decriminalising cannabis.
In response to
Good to hear
Way to go
May I be very clear: decriminalisation is not on the government’s agenda.
It has been the policy of successive Labour & National led governments & is not about to change.
So any valid reform is a lost cause until a major party supports, eh? Change too difficult from the inside?
It’s more that is a government minister and the Cabinet has a position.
It’s also numbers – 61 votes is a majority in Parliament & Nats, Lab & even Greens oppose legalisation.
This the political reality. Dunne cops a lot of flak for nothing being done to change cannabis law but he has a small minority voice in Government and he has just one vote in Parliament. Dunne isn’t in Cabinet.
National look unlikely to try and do anything on cannabis in the foreseeable future. John Key swung significant support behind marriage equality but he looks unlikely to do anything on cannabis – he recently stated “I just don’t agree with drugs”.
Prime Minister John Key has ruled out relaxing cannabis laws while campaigning for the Northland by-election.
In response to a question from a voter Mr Key said he did not support decriminalisation of cannabis.
The voter accused Mr Key of wanting to lock people up in jail.
“It’s not so much that, I just don’t agree with drugs,” the Prime Minister said.
So a National Government almost certainly won’t initiate anything.
The only other option is via a Member’s Bill and there are currently none on drugs in the ballot so no party is trying to change cannabis law.
Andrew Little sounds like he has no interest in doing anything. In March Duncan Garner asked:
SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT
Garner: We’ve had this debate this afternoon around the legalisation of cannabis, we’ve got a poll up and man it’s been phenomenal, 86% replied (saying cannabis should be legalised), 2000 votes. We’ve had Kevin Hague on, he says it is actually time for this debate to actually occur given what’s happening in America, around four different states either decriminalise or legalised.
What’s your position on decriminalising cannabis?
Little: Yeah up to now I think we’ve, my personal view is I’ve approached it very cautiously. I mean I, when I was a union lawyer I did a lot of cases of the drug and testing in workplaces and all that sort of stuff.
The studies I did of it, the thing that came out of it for me was that a lot of the cannabis in New Zealand, that’s grown in New Zealand has such a high THC level it’s actually different to cannabis sold in other countries, so that’s an area of danger.
But having said that I’d be keen to have a look and see what the experience has been of States like you know Washington and the other states that have adopted decriminalisation more recently and just see what the experience has been and see whether there is something we can learn from it.
I’d never say no to it but I’d say we’ve got to approach this with considerable caution.
This sounds like Little has no interest in doing anything about cannabis.
Garner: Right, considerable caution because it could be politically not viable, it might make you unpopular? Or because you believe in it’s worth having a debate?
Little: Oh no given that my honeymoon’s over, I’m used to the unpopularity…
Garner: Yes it is over, you don’t want a long honeymoon mate, you don’t want a long honeymoon…
Little: I’m more concerned about the public health and safety aspects of it and given the conditions here. That’s the issue for me.
I think since i was up at the Auckland University quad yesterday, part of the ? week, I talked to some of the young folks there and that issue came up.
Unprompted just raised that issue with me. So there’s clearly a discussion going on out there though and you know we need to be part of it.
Garner: When you discuss these things obviously you get those headlines out, ‘Little supports decriminalisation’, I mean is that a fair headline or not?
Little: (pause) no that would be an unfair headline at the moment because I, I’m not, I don’t, I know there is an issue there. I’d like to look more closely at it. I’d like to look at the experience of the American states that have decriminalised.
But I draw on my own personal experience and the research I’ve done when I was a union lawyer, to say there is an issue here that is not as easy just to say let’s decriminalise, let’s open it up.
So my approach is proceed with caution.
Garner: Proceed with caution but at least start to look at what’s happening in America.
Little: Have a look, and lets have the debate. Ah and lets get some facts, lets shine some facts on the issue. Let’s not just react emotionally but lets have the debate, get the facts and proceed with caution.
What debate? No party is promoting any debate, let alone any action.
Greens have supposedly been the pro-cannabis party but have been lukewarm on it. Leading into last year’s election Russel Norman:
“Decriminalisation has obviously been a long-standing Green Party policy, there has been movement on it internationally as well as domestically and it will be on the table in any post-election negotiation, like our other policies.”
Greens never got to negotiate policies after the election.
Speaking after her State of the Nation speech at Waitangi Park in Wellington, co-leader Metiria Turei said they wanted to see the law changed.
“I would like to progress a vast amount of our policy, actually and that would be one that would be very interesting,” she said.
Turei said they believed a drug-free lifestyle was the healthiest, but did not believe adults should be convicted of a crime if they smoked cannabis.
Decriminalising the drug was “the wisest policy,” however it would not be a bottom-line issue for the party in any post-election discussions.
Not a “bottom line issue”. Not an issue the Greens campaigned on. Not an issue the Greens have done anything visible about since. Not a visible issue in the just completed Green leadership contest. Not a visible issue in the Green conference this weekend.
James Shaw seems to have avoided the issue.
I’ve searched Parliament’s Hansard for this term (all MPs) and there’s barely a mention of cannabis or marijuana and no interest has been expressed regarding considering any law changes.
It came up during the Northland by-election – Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:
NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.
Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.
Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. That fair enough? Wonderful.”
However, later he said he had no intention of putting forward a referendum and his comments were the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”
So NZ First aren’t interested either.
That’s the reality of reality on decriminalising cannabis in New Zealand – politicians aren’t seriously interested in doing anything about it.