Great news today with the Government announcing it is considering bringing forward the binding referendum on legalising cannabis to next year, 2019, rather than during the 2020 general election.
The government is debating whether to hold the referendum on legalising marijuana next year. The Justice Minister Andrew Little says there’s a view holding the referendum at the 2020 General Election wouldn’t be a smart move politically.
Bring it on! A solid majority of New Zealand adults support law reform and people are telling me they don’t want to wait any longer.
The government needs to keep up with international developments. Canada will legalise in July this year. Even the World Health Organisation is among those calling for drug law reform.
It’s good to see the Government considering what the next steps should be:
Mr Little acknowledged the government had a lot of work to do before any vote.
“We need to make sure there is good public information out there, good events for people to express their views, so that would dictate a timing that would be no earlier that late 2019.”
He said the government still did not know what sort of legalised marijuana system it will propose putting in place.
“We simply haven’t got anywhere near that, I think it’s about getting the mechanics of the referendum sorted, then I think obviously some discussions around scope and maybe some options there.
“The critical question is going to be, what is the question to go to the electorate with, one that makes sense and gives a meaningful answer and gives a mandate if it is approved to proceed with further work”
NORML believes the cannabis referendum should be a binding vote on a known, specified, law that should take immediate effect should it pass.
There needs to be a public education and consultation phase so there is a clear understanding on what the proposal means.
The best way of doing this is for the public to make submissions on the proposed laws, and then be able to vote them into law at the referendum.