Bennett — cannabis vote won’t be bind­ing

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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.”

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