New Zealand needs to 'move into reality' on legal cannabis - Former Prime Minister Clark

Ryan Bridge 04/09/2019

The Helen Clark Foundation points to an already thriving cannabis black market and suggests regulating the drug will help reduce the potential harm it can cause in it’s report released in support of legalising cannabis in next years referendum.

A simple yes or no question will be presented based on draft legislation that includes a minimum age of 20, regulations and commercial supply controls, limited home-growing options, and a public education programme.

Former Prime Minister and head of the foundation Helen Clark joins Magic Talk Drive to discuss the report. 

Clark tells Ryan that New Zealand needs to ‘move into reality with 80 percent of New Zealanders that have tried, or will try, this in their lifetime.

We still have 4,000 Kiwis a year going through the court system for cannabis charges.

Ryan asks Helen how to distinguish between supporting the legalisation of cannabis without endorsing its use, to which she says “very easily”.

"I don’t support tobacco, I’ve campaigned against people using tobacco for all my life. Would I even think of banning it? Of course not”.

What would be the point of criminalising a person who has a dependence on tobacco?

Ryan wonders whether the referendum has been mismanaged prompting Clark’s entry into the debate considering that polls show that since the Government's announcement of a referendum people's attitudes have soured on legalising cannabis.

Helen suggests that it is indicative of an active campaign against cannabis while the yes campaign has yet to get into gear.

Clark then explains that arguments to conflate legalisation with growth in use are unfounded as examples from the US show that legalisation has corresponded with a decrease in use. 

Listen to the full interview above.