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Green MP defends draft cannabis law over age limit concerns

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Dec 2019, 5:58PM
Chloe Swarbrick says that you will be able to buy 14 grams a day. (Photo / File)

Green MP defends draft cannabis law over age limit concerns

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Dec 2019, 5:58PM

The Greens are hoping for a constructive debate about well-being before next year's cannabis referendum.

Justice Minister Andrew Little's released a draft law this afternoon which includes a ban on smoking in public, no online sales, and minimum purchase age of 20.

It comes alongside a new Government website with public information on the draft Bill - as well as the End of Life Choice Act.

Greens co-leader James Shaw's pleased with the draft.

"The Green Party really welcomes the draft legislation for the cannabis referendum. We do want a controlled, regulated, health-based approach to cannabis in New Zealand."

Despite concerns about cannabis causing harm to developing brains, Green MP and spokesperson for drug law reform Chloe Swarbrick defended the age limit as other vices can have negative effects but are legal. 

"Those effects apply to alcohol as well, and at some point we have to draw a line and say at the age of 2, you've been able to vote for two years, you can do pretty much anything else." 

She does not think raising the age to 25 would work as a harm reduction method.

Swarbrick says people would be able to buy a maximum of 14-grams per day, which she says is about the size of a grapefruit, and was based off data from the Justice Ministry.

"That is the amount of which a moderate user's average weekly use." 

However, National's drug reform spokesperson Paula Bennett says it lets voters down.

"I think its ill thought, it doesn't have the level of detail the public deserves when they are making such a big, important decision, and I think its at risk of causing more harm."

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