Cannabis referendum could disappoint

One of the policy wins for the Greens is a referendum on personal use of cannabis.

A referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis by 2020. Funding for drug and alcohol addiction services will be increased.

The ‘referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis by 2020’ is both good and bad news.

Cannabis laws and enforcement of them are hopeless, and long overdue for being radically reformed, so it is good to see tangible progress on this.

But I’m really quite disappointed by this.

Why do we need a referendum apart from appeasing NZ First? Polls have consistently shown public support for cannabis law reform.

A referendum in 2020 is likely to mean that legislation wouldn’t go through Parliament until 2021 at the earliest, and if National get back in they are unlikely to put any priority on it. This means any change could be four or five years away.

A simple referendum could be hobbled or watered down by actual legislation if it’s not specific enough.

Perhaps legislation could be done in advance of the referendum so we know what we are voting on. Then the referendum could be to approve of or reject the legislation. But that still means at least a 3 year wait.

I won’t get too annoyed yet, before details are available, but I have some concerns.


Note that this addresses personal use of cannabis as opposed to medicinal use – in Labour’s Taking action in our first 100 days:

  • Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain

Ardern has not been specific but has said that most of their ‘first 100 days’ pledges remain intact.


UPDATE – there could be even more disappointment

James Shaw just said in an interview on The Nation that it hasn’t been decided yet whether the referendum will be binding or not.

So it could be in 3 years, and toothless.

 

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38 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  21st October 2017

    ‘Why do we need a referendum apart from appeasing NZ First?’…really?

    Reply
  2. Trevors_Elbow

     /  21st October 2017

    Polls pete?

    Really?

    A referendum is absolutely the correct response for a conscience issue like this. Polls are just gaming playing to get the answer you want….

    Reply
    • Properly conducted polls are accurate enough – if it’s close then go to a referendum – and far quicker and cheaper. If you want more accuracy do a household survey.

      Referendums can also be game played, as per the smacking referendum, making it easily ignored. I could have legitimately answered yes or no depending on interpretation.

      Reply
      • Have fait. Australian activists fought against a postal gay marriage vote. It looks like it’ll fly through

        Reply
        • Don’t get me started on gay marriage-how anyone can see this as a threat to family life, ‘real’ marriage’, blah blah blah will be forever a mystery.

          Reply
  3. PDB

     /  21st October 2017

    Referenda should be binding IF they reach a high threshold of support like 70%.

    Reply
  4. David

     /  21st October 2017

    They should legalize it right now so we can just sit around and get stoned and laugh for the next 3 years, it would be the humane thing to do. I am certainly planning on drinking a LOT more to help numb the pain.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st October 2017

      They’re possibly hoping that’ll happen because the more people do that, constantly, the more tax they’ll probably get? 🤔

      Reply
  5. David

     /  21st October 2017

    When you look at the outright hostility associated with referendums she must have been stoned to agree to this one, think back to how angry folk got over the flag referendum would she really want to risk her popularity on what is a pretty minor issue.

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  21st October 2017

      There’s a huge difference between cannabis law reform and a flag-change vanity project, and the electorate response to a cannabis law reform referendum will be a far more popular move than you’re willing to admit, ya poor righty snowflake

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  21st October 2017

        If Key had stuck to his original choice (silver fern on black) we would have a new flag – go figure………

        Reply
      • If National choose to attack a cannabis referendum process like Labour and the greens attacked the flag referendum process it could also become a farce.

        Reply
      • David

         /  21st October 2017

        Sure there is a difference, [Deleted derogatory personal term – PG], but that wasnt the point was it, people got a bit irrational over a flag that not many use anyway and cannabis reform is likely to excite people to a large degree and on which way is the great unkown, why go into your next election with an issue that is likely to get your oppositions voter base excited (both to the left and to the right) and out to the polling booths.
        I would decriminalize all drugs anyway, including P and Heroin etc. etc. as its no business of anyone else what one consumes.

        Reply
        • It’s all of our business when we have to pay for the results when people are addicts and commit crimes to get their drugs.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st October 2017

            If we banned the sale of liquor they’d have no liquor stores to rob. Would you support that if, say, ACT campaigned on that?

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  21st October 2017

              They never would. But I would never want to see hard drugs legalised-look at what they do to people.

  6. UPDATE – there could be even more disappointment

    James Shaw just said in an interview on The Nation that it hasn’t been decided yet whether the referendum will be binding or not.

    So it could be in 3 years, and toothless.

    Reply
    • Why not just do a poll ? One that cannot possibly be considered to be leading would not be impossible to create, surely.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st October 2017

        You’ve got an MA Hons in Eng Lit & good grammar. .How would you word it Kitty?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  21st October 2017

          One would need to be a lawyer, really, and have more than one person doing it-and checking and rechecking it. The q’s would need to be quite neutral, not like the ones which equated hitting children with being a good parent.

          Reply
        • Fight4NZ

           /  21st October 2017

          Similar to what a referendum should do, but far less expensive.
          Couldn’t be worse than the compulsory super referendum highjacked by the free market fundamentalists so the options were no compulsion or this dogs turd investment scheme? Or who will ever forget the flag – no change or this souvenir teatowel design?

          Reply
        • Fight4NZ

           /  21st October 2017

          G have you somehow obtained a secret dossier with everyones cv?
          Or Gezza or Sir Gerald as you prefer.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st October 2017

            All the literati, the glitterati, the illuminati & the artifarti here are aware that Kitty is highly steeped in the higher level learnings in these areas of the arts, F4.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  21st October 2017

              As equally are the proletarti & tradespersarti

            • Fight4NZ

               /  21st October 2017

              Sure, but there are several others you seem to know the background of to. Wondering if there is a group originally associated off-line ? Not important just my curiosity?

            • Gezza

               /  21st October 2017

              I keep touch with a couple of regulars here by email from time to time. We just seemed to gel personally – not something we’d normally do. Risky proposition. But we sussed each other carefully & we’re email pen friends. Just happened.

            • Gezza

               /  21st October 2017

              Doesn’t mean we don’t have completely different political views and one of them in particular is frequently an utter bastard in that context. But we know how to separate politics from person.

            • Fight4NZ

               /  21st October 2017

              Nice.
              Double downtick for asking- better move on

            • Conspiratoor

               /  22nd October 2017

              F4, G is a founding member of an exclusive club of YNZ posters. They have some sort of thing whereby they exchange nods, winks and coded messages on the blog. I have tried unsuccessfully many times to gain entry but so far failed to reach the bar. G thinks I’m too evil and likely to disturb the equilibrium of the group. I suspect it might also have something to do with my alleged ties to Winston.
              If you wish to submit an application for membership I’m happy to endorse it. How would you describe your sense of humour? You will need one …as well as a robust ego. Cheers,c

            • Gezza

               /  22nd October 2017

              Oh for heaven’s sake. Stop whining. It’s not because you’re evil – you’re only still a learner. It’s because you can be horrible. Your trouble is you’re too sensitive.

  7. I tend to agree PG.. nearly every poll in the past 5-10 years have been clear, that the majority of adults do not agree that prohibition is the way to continue.. we need to get with the program’ as in most other OECD countries; Canada, USA, EU, Sth America etc.

    BUT methinks Jacinda is not only appeasing NZF, but also covering her back by ‘leaving final the decision to the voting public’
    I agree also with others; IF the result has 67+% then it should be deemed a binding referendum; a clear majority ! regardless of the possibility of a return to Natz in 2020 or later… hence/else we cannot truly be called a democracy !

    Reply
  8. Why not have a referendum. Even if it is a slower route of legalisation, it is bringing about the same inevitable end!

    Reply
  1. Green policy wins leaked | Your NZ
  2. Cannabis referendum could disappoint — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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