Nats, Greens dif­fer over le­gal cannabis sup­pli­ers

Weekend Herald - - News - Derek Cheng

Peo­ple with cannabis con­vic­tions should be able to sup­ply le­gal medic­i­nal cannabis and, if recre­ational use be­comes le­gal, be of­fered a clean slate, Green MP Chloe Swar­brick says.

But the Na­tional Party says only “fit and proper per­sons” should man­u­fac­ture le­gal cannabis.

Swar­brick’s com­ments fol­low an email ex­change — re­leased to the Na­tional Party un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act — show­ing the Greens asked Min­istry of Health of­fi­cials to look at pro­pos­als for the medic­i­nal cannabis leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing one that would “al­low in­di­vid­u­als with pre­vi­ous drug con­vic­tions to man­u­fac­ture cannabis”.

The Greens’ pro­posal never came be­fore the House, but that door has not closed.

Who should be eligible to sup­ply medic­i­nal cannabis will be a key as­pect of the Govern­ment’s new reg­u­la­tory frame­work, which will be in place by the end of the year.

Na­tional as­so­ciate health spokesman, Shane Reti said medic­i­nal cannabis mak­ers and em­ploy­ees should be “fit and proper per­sons”. Na­tional has pro­posed clean-slate leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing no jail terms and no con­vic­tions for seven years for em­ploy­ees, and even tougher stan­dards for li­cence hold­ers, in­clud­ing no as­so­ci­a­tions with gangs.

“The Greens have lis­tened to . . . East Coast-based Hiku­rangi En­ter­prises (which has a li­cence for medic­i­nal cannabis) and ig­nored the rest of the in­dus­try, who were com­pletely be­hind the fit-and-proper-per­sons re­quire­ments,” Reti said.

He called the Greens “soft on drugs” but Swar­brick, the Greens’ spokes­woman for drug law re­form, dis­missed that as “clas­sic Na­tional Party hys­te­ria”.

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