Andrew Little vague on timing and form of cannabis referendum

I am seeing increasing uneasiness about what form the recreational cannabis referendum might take, in particular whether the vote is on confirming legislation already decided by Parliament.

The commitment from the Labour-Green Confidence and Supply Agreement:

19. Increase funding for alcohol and drug addiction services and ensure drug use is treated as a health issue, and have a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 general election.

That’s unfortunately quite vague, leaving the decision up to Labour and NZ First Ministers in Cabinet.

Yesterday on Newshub Nation:

Okay, let’s talk about the referendum on the personal use of cannabis. You confirm you’re taking a proposal to Cabinet next week?

No, look, we’re still going through a process with our coalition and confidence-and-supply partners. We will make announcements on the issue about that hopefully very soon.

So not happening next week?

Look, I’m not going to say exactly where we are in the process, but we have been in a process, negotiating this through. I think we’re at a pretty good point. Eventually, we’ll get to the point where Cabinet will make a decision, and once that happens, we’ll make announcements.

Could we have a timeline?

I would hope sooner rather than later. I would expect in the next few weeks as opposed to, you know, too much later than that.

And have you got all your coalition partners on board on this?

I’m very pleased with where things are at. In the end, what—

Is that a yes?

Well, in the end, what is most important is Cabinet gets to make a decision. Once Cabinet has made a decision, then we’re in a position to announce—

Have you decided the wording of the question?

Look, I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail. This has been, obviously, the subject of discussion. it’s been very intense discussion; I think very constructive discussion. I’m pleased with where things are at. Cabinet will be poised to make a decision fairly soon, and once they do, then we’ll make those announcements.

Cabinet. NZ First. No Green MPs.

I think there is cause for concern.

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14 Comments

  1. there is all sorts of debate on what form ‘the question’ could take.. are they talking ‘decrim.’ only; stop arresting pot-smokers, but not growers/supply ?
    OR perhaps move to a more commercial model; similar to some USA states, Canada etc. ??

    BUT.. in order to have some informed discussion/debate.. we DO need clarification ASAP, as to what exactly, law reform may look like. All we currently have is speculation & lots of bluff/bluster.

    I seem to remember, that it was stated.. that we need 18 months of serious debate (on the model & question) prior to the ‘Reeferendum’, which means we need something to actually work with NOW !! :/

    “Come on Mr Little.. time is passing.. ” 😦

    Reply
    • NZF have said they are OK with a referendum on cannabis….. we need more details though, the time for speculation is over :/

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  5th May 2019

      No we dont need 18 months of debate- who appointed you as spokesman for making sure the vote goes your way. a vote of one! 3 months is fine.

      As well we should have the health funding all costed out and the implications of resources- lets not do it the stupid way and legalize first and then as afterthought say ‘ wow , who would have guessed we have a serious health problem’ and have it blow up in our faces

      Reply
      • ‘…who appointed you as spokesman for making sure the vote goes your way…’ sez Duker

        Q) how many $billions have been WASTED.. on Drug Prohibition & has it really done anything to; decrease use or resolve the health issues/harm around ‘problem use of DRUGS’ ?

        A) many, many $billions wasted.. it has done F-all to either stop drug use or reduce harm. All it has done is criminalised many otherwise ‘law abiding citizens’ (IMHO) Creating a society with ‘us & them’: boozers/ciggie smokers/no drugs use V ‘illegal druggies’.
        Is this even rational ?

        btw; when NZF agreed to a referendum, I heard it was them, who said ‘we need at least 18 months to debate it, prior to the vote’.. I have no preconceived ideas, about which way the ‘reeferendum’ will go & in fact, I think APATHY/lack of Public debate, could be the main reason, WHY it may fail to pass ?!!

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  5th May 2019

          ” how many $billions have been WASTED..”
          Do having traffic cops “resolve” the bad driving on the roads, or having hospitals “resolve” the countrys sick population.
          Billions havent been wasted on drug prohibition, just making up ‘scary numbers doesnt make it true. Does it stop you smoking your drug of choice….no.
          Laws dont work like that- Duh. Its just that if some want to try their luck they have to face the consequences. Doesnt mean its exterminated.

          Every year theres another 75,000 people become 18 yrs old – they havent learnt what people take 10 years to know. Its a sort start afresh.

          Since we wouldnt be having ‘personal use ‘ open slater, there would still be laws about age restrictions and supply and fit and proper persons. restrictions on driving while drugged etc. So still ‘enforcement required’, including saliva tests. ( just like alcohol)
          Why not make it easier and continue with restrictions on a harmful drug.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  5th May 2019

            Police Courts and Corrections cannabis prohibition costs us 400million per year according to treasury .
            https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2995244/Bill-English-Cannabis-OIA.pdf
            That is just enforcement costs of prohibition.
            The estimate for lost tax revenue Is about 150million.
            Social harm due to prohibition is something like 450 million a year.
            https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/research-report-new-zealand-drug-harm-index-2016
            Prohibition costs us ONE BILLION A YEAR……
            The health costs are mostly already happening there woulds be little change in Health costs if we legalize.

            Reply
            • cheers Griff

              The thing that still confuses me, is the so-called ‘Drug Harm index’ & how they come up with these figures. It seems to suggest, that ALL ‘illegal’ drug use is harmful. So, 20th century.. 😦

              BUT other stats. show the reality; the most harmful DRUGS are the legal ones.. & yet there are still some who maintain that prohibition is the ‘best solution’ to dealing with ‘Drug related harm’, but refuse to say “Lets ban booze too”. It didnt work in 1920s USA with Alcohol & it is only now that ‘authorities’ are admitting, it has been a total FAILURE with Cannabis/other ‘illegal drugs’. A ‘health-based’ approach is the better option.

              The other thing that needs to happen; transfer of funds from Prohibition Industry: Police, Courts, Prisons, to Health care, education & rehab. etc.
              This can be supplemented by Taxing Cannabis (like booze) 🙂

            • Griff.

               /  5th May 2019

              In the drug harm index they account the cost of prohibition as a drug harm when it is not it is a harm of the attempt to restrict use.
              You are right they also fail to recognize that we use drugs because we perceive a benefit from doing so .
              I have seen prohibitionists claim that Alcohol is a benefit to society because they enjoy it and drinking engenders social discourse.
              The can not admit that someone else may feel the same way about their cannabis use .
              I much prefer to be among stoners talking shite than with a bunch of drunks who often end up bashing each other.

  2. Strongforlife

     /  5th May 2019

    I find Mr Little is vague on all subjects.

    Reply
  3. Duker

     /  5th May 2019

    :”Cabinet. NZ First. No Green MPs.”-thats incorrect
    Ministers outside cabinet ARE called in when it involves them
    Also in some areas issues are delegated to Cabinet committees to get in deeper

    Shaw is currently a Health – Acting Associate Minister , probaly in the area of ‘drug reform’

    Reply
  4. David

     /  5th May 2019

    Its an interesting situation, Ardern could just legislate put a bill to the house etc. given she campaigned on it but she see,s it as a brilliant get out the vote method for the next election which she perceives will work in her favour.
    She now needs to make sure its equally motivating for NZ Firsts voters. Interesting way of governing but she lacks confidence in developing a policy and selling it to the public and her beloved performance post Mosque has probably made that more acute in that she got to enjoy near universal love and admiration, dont want to mess with that.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  5th May 2019

      What a load of drivel

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  5th May 2019

      Where did Ardern campaign on legalisation of marijuana for personal use. I cant find it on the labour party 2017 election manifesto?
      did you just ‘think ‘ they did, without remembering politicians can ‘speak’ on many things without committing to it. Its an sign of an experienced polly – nod instead of agreeing , Affirm something instead of saying yes, never say ‘Im going to do ……., when elected.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  5th May 2019

        never say ‘Im going to do …….’, when elected.
        Good advice. In an MMP environment it’s better to stick with “Our party’s policy is to…”

        Reply

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