The Hélène Clark Foundation's report advises legalization of cannabis
While New Zealand is about to make a historic decision on whether to change the way it regulates the personal use of cannabis in 2020, the Helen Clark Foundation analyzed the current approach and said that the status quo was "unacceptable". Cannabis would be legalized and cannabis-related minor convictions would be erased.
Hélène Clark report says legalization of cannabis is the best solution
"Cannabis should be treated as a social and health problem, not a criminal problem. The status quo exacerbates its harmful effects, "said Executive Director and co-author Kathy Errington.
Errington said current prohibition-based policy approaches had not eradicated, and could not eliminate, the consumption and supply of cannabis.
The Foundation notes that around 80% of Kiwis consume cannabis at least once before 25. Yet, cannabis remains illegal and inflicts "excessive penalties" on users who are being prosecuted.
Voters are therefore asked to tick the box "yes" to the legalization and regulation of cannabis in next year's referendum and to the government to advise to regulate cannabis as a health and social problem.
"Our analysis asserts that the disproportionate effects of current policies justify the establishment of effective legislation and regulation," Errington said.
The report recommends to the New Zealand government:
- Forfeit prior criminal offenses related to cannabis, including for the supply in the absence of aggravating factors such as the use of a firearm or violence
- Legislate for the regulation of a legal cannabis market.
- Develop a structure for a legal market that prevents and / or discourages large commercial for-profit cannabis producers and retailers
- Ensure that those most affected by the cannabis prohibition are taken into account when setting up a legal market
- Ensure that these people have equitable access to become producers and retailers within the legal market
What New Zealand will vote on:
The bill on which the government announced that New Zealand will vote in the 2020 elections will include:
- A minimum age of 20 years to use and buy recreational cannabis
- Regulation and control of commercial supplies
- Limited growth options
- A public education program
- Stakeholder engagement
- "New Zealanders will have a clear choice in a referendum at the 2020 general election. The government agreed to ask a simple "yes / no" question on the basis of a bill, "Justice Minister Andrew Little said in May.