The New Zealand Drug Foundation hosted a two day hui at Parliament this week to discuss the country’s drug law.
Whether to legalise or decriminalise low level use of marijuana is proving a political hot potato with morally conservative parties like ACT supporting legalisation and United Future wanting a regulated market for low risk drugs.
While the centre left Labour Party doesn’t support decrinimalisation at all.
According to Professor Khylee Quince from the New Zealand Drug Foundation the stance taken by the conservative parties is all to do with economics.
“People on the right, even though they’re morally conservative they don’t want to spend money on government initiatives and law enforcement that’s expensive and ineffective and doesn’t have political support. Labour’s much more interesting, I think there’s a large contingent of Maori voters who see Labour as morally conservative and controlling,” says Professor Quince.
She adds that the New Zealand Drug Foundation is opposed to legalisation of marijuana use at this stage and a more robust educational health programme is needed before that should happen.
Professor Quince says we don’t want to go down a wholly legalisation route before we have an effective health and social education regime in place because our communities are the most harmed by substance abuse disorder.
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