Bennett — cannabis vote won’t be binding
Labour, NZ First and the Green Party have all said that the result of next year’s referendum on legalising the ‘recreational’ use of cannabis will be binding, but National MP Paula Bennett said earlier this week that however the government tried to “spin it,” it would not be.
“The government’s decision to go with Option 3 means that while legislation will be drafted, it won’t go through the House, meaning Parliament won’t have the opportunity to improve the legislation through the Select Committee process, expert advice and public submissions,” Ms Bennett said.
“The Cabinet paper leaked to the National Party was written pushing for Option 4, which would see enacted legislation. This is also what the Greens were recommending. Instead the public do not get certainty and the advantages of a full Parliamentary process.
“Justice Minister Andrew Little has received advice from the Ministry of Justice that the only way a referendum can be binding is if legislation has gone through Parliament.”
Ms Bennett also argued it was too early to have a debate about legalisation.
“We should have waited to see the evidence from Canada, who only legalised in October,” she said, “and since a referendum has been promised, we believe the public should have as much information and certainty as possible. This option does not deliver that.”