Who leaked and why?

Will we have enough information to vote intelligently in  the referendum on cannabis?:

A Cabinet Paper leaked to National which will be considered by the Government tomorrow shows New Zealand will head into the recreational marijuana referendum with many unanswered questions, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson Paula Bennett says.

“Cabinet will tomorrow consider four different options for the referendum but no matter which option it choses, there are huge holes.

“The Cabinet Paper is clear that smoking marijuana when you’re under the age of 25 is detrimental for development of the brain, and yet it recommends that the legal age should be 20. The legal age seems to have been plucked out of thin air.

“The paper acknowledges that regular marijuana use increases the risk of developing depression, psychosis and schizophrenia and is especially harmful to those under 25-years-old. It also acknowledges that there is a one in six chance of young people becoming dependent. This would result in further demand for mental health services.

“There is no mention about what level of tax will be imposed on marijuana, will it be the same as tobacco and alcohol? Will it really get rid of the illicit market if it’s taxed at 40 or 50 per cent? Will a much higher tax rate be needed if they will test 10 per cent of the product to ensure THC levels are low?

“The Government hasn’t identified any budget for ensuring the public knows about the pros and cons of legalisation in the lead up to the referendum. Given how much this would impact our communities, New Zealanders need to know what they are voting for.

“Only one of the options being considered will give New Zealanders some certainty about what they’re voting for – the other options will mean a huge lack of information.

“Every option takes us straight to legalisation instead of decriminalisation. Many other countries consider decriminalisation first before leaping straight to legalisation.

“National understands that as usual with this Government, the coalition has been unable to reach a consensus and the decision around which option they will choose has been holding up the process.

“The problem with that is there isn’t time for yet more coalition disagreements on an issue this important.”

The options being considered are:

• A general question consistent with the undertaking in the Confidence and Supply agreement: “Do you support legalising the personal use of recreational cannabis?” This would not be accompanied by any legal framework or other policy decisions and it would be left to a subsequent Parliament to determine what to do in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

• A questions referring to a specific policy framework document setting out the basic principles of what legalisation for personal use of recreational cannabis in New Zealand would entail: “Do you support legalising recreational cannabis in accordance with [published policy document]?” A ‘yes’ vote would result in the duly elected government and Parliament having some moral imperative, but no obligation, to enact law changes consistent with that policy document;

• A question referring to draft legislation that outlines the regulatory model for cannabis: ‘Do you support legalising the personal use of recreational cannabis in accordance with [published draft legislation]?” Similar to option 2, a ‘yes’ vote would result in the duly elected government and Parliament having some moral imperative, but no obligation, to enact the legislation.

• A question referring to legislation already enacted but conditional on an affirmative vote on the referendum: “Do you support legalising recreational cannabis in accordance with the [Drug Reform] Act 20XX?” A ‘yes’ vote would trigger the legislation coming into effect.

Brexit shows the dangers of a referendum when people neither know exactly what they’re voting for nor understand the consequences.

This leaked paper raises serious questions about the questions and whether or not we’ll know enough to make a fully informed vote.

There’s also the question of who leaked the paper and why?

Is it someone who is unhappy about this particular issue or is it someone who is unhappy about the direction – or more accurately lack of direction – of the government and it’s continuing non-delivery of anything of substance nearly half way through what is supposed to be the year of delivery?

5 Responses to Who leaked and why?

  1. Roj Blake says:

    There is no need for a referendum. Governments are elected to govern, and Brexit shows the danger of outsourcing government decisions.

    Look to the evidence. Look to the high crime and incarceration rates in the USA, then compare and contrast with the far lower crime and incarceration rates in The Netherlands and Portugal.

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  2. pdm says:

    I am an intransigent NO!!

    BTW HP it is a pain having to complete my details every time I comment or am I doing something wrong?

    Like

  3. homepaddock says:

    Roj – and look to social problems in places where it’s legal.

    PDM – I’m automatically signed in to comment on this and any WordPress blog, but do have to complete details any time I comment on non-Wordpress blogs. But Professor Google led me to this: https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2006/05/18/sans-blog/ – I think that means you can comment without signing in each time. Also found: Your readers can also post comments using their Facebook, Google+, or Twitter accounts.

    Like

  4. Roj Blake says:

    Ele, surely you’re not saying that there are no social problems in places where weed is illegal? Are you unaware of the social problems caused by the legal use of alcohol? Tobacco?

    Drug policy should be based on harm minimisation. Excessive drug use is a health problem that should never have been criminalised.

    Cannabis prohibition stems from racist policies of the USA. sadly, most of the rest of the world got sucked in.

    An excellent book on the subject is Chasing The Scream.

    Like

  5. Roj Blake says:

    You could also spend 5 minutes taking The Quiz to see how your knowledge stacks up agaunst your prejudices.

    Like

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