Can­di­dates talk cannabis laws

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MAHVASH ALI

They may dis­agree on most is­sues, but New Lynn can­di­dates are largely in favour of medicinal mar­i­juana.

Paulo Gar­cia of the Na­tional Party said he wanted more ev­i­dence to con­firm if medicinal mar­i­juana was bet­ter than other drugs cur­rently avail­able in the mar­ket.

‘‘At the mo­ment, I un­der­stand that ad­vanced cannabis-based prod­ucts can some­times be ben­e­fi­cial for the treat­ment of cer­tain con­di­tions.’’

For Labour’s Deb­o­rah Rus­sell the so­lu­tion was straight­for­ward.

She wanted med­i­cal mar­i­juana le­galised as soon as pos­si­ble to pro­vide peo­ple with ‘‘the best op­tions for pain re­lief’’.

But Rus­sell said she was con­cerned about the ef­fect recre­ational mar­i­juana would have on young peo­ple.

Leilani Tamu of the Green Party said those suf­fer­ing from ter­mi­nal ill­ness or de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tions should have ac­cess to af­ford­able medicinal cannabis.

‘‘When in Gov­ern­ment the Green Party will as­sess ev­i­dence from over­seas ju­ris­dic­tions with le­gal cannabis mar­kets to de­ter­mine the best model for New Zealand and will then make cannabis le­gal for per­sonal use with ap­pro­pri­ate safe­guards in place, in­clud­ing a le­gal age limit.’’

For Karen Wil­liams of the Maori Party, mar­i­juana’s cur­rent le­gal sta­tus was cost­ing tax­pay­ers.

‘‘Crim­i­nal­is­ing the use of mar­i­juana has had no ben­e­fit in re­duc­ing crime what­so­ever and that is be­cause it is not a crim­i­nal is­sue, it’s a health is­sue.’’

John Hub­scher of United Fu­ture said he was in favour of look­ing at mar­i­juana as a health is­sue in­stead of a crim­i­nal mat­ter.

’’The money would be bet­ter spent on feed­ing and cloth­ing our young peo­ple so they can go to school and im­prove their life po­ten­tial.’’

Act’s Richard Wells said it was time to start view­ing cannabis from a health per­spec­tive, but it was some­thing the Gov­ern­ment should avoid rushing into.

But oth­er­wise-law abid­ing cit­i­zens some­times found them­selves in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem thanks to the cur­rent laws.

REUTERS

Paulo Gar­cia said Na­tional had left the is­sue of med­i­cal mar­i­juana to ‘‘the con­science of its mem­bers’’.

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