Legalise cannabis for medicinal uses
Candidates vying to be Helensville’s new MP agree on one thing - cannabis should be accessible for medicinal purposes.
National Party candidate Christopher Penk says the party was developing guidelines for cannabis to be accessible for medical reasons, much like the Green Party’s policy.
The issue was not a priority for the party, but Labour’s candidate Kurt Taogaga says he was personally in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal use.
‘‘I think the studies have shown that there are a lot of benefits in terms of pain relief and in terms of quality of life that we can benefit from,’’ he says.
Taogaga says people in the north-west could benefit on a small scale by supplying medicinal cannabis to the market, noting there were glasshouse operations already along State Highway 16.
He says it could open up another industry for people in the north-west.
Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson says, during his recent visit to New Zealand, farmers could replace cows with cannabis if it was legal in New Zealand.
In response, Taogaga says ‘‘in some small way he is actually on to something’’.
Green Party candidate Hayley Holt says the party would not want to see large crops grown in the north-west as it would become a danger.
‘‘I think cultivation for personal use would be one or two plants at your home in a pot plant.
‘‘Until we introduce a legal market, rules and regulations around that, we can’t put any policy around growing crops,’’ she says.
Penk says he is more concerned with the harm cannabis could cause rather than any economic benefits it may create for the north-west.
‘‘[It’s] not really a good sense of priority to be happily throwing the children of the north-west under the bus for the sake of economic benefits.’’
Penk said while campaigning no-one had come up to him and said legalising cannabis was something they were interested in him looking into. They were more interested in ‘‘positive options’’ including good education in the area.
Holt, who said she had smoked cannabis in the past, said the Green Party had discussed legalising cannabis for recreational use with an age restriction.