It's been fascinating to watch the debate over cannabis law reform in
New Zealand from Canada, especially the arguments based on how well or
how poorly legal regulation has been playing out in my country. It's
also interesting - and amusing - to read the sometimes apocalyptic or
pollyannaish predictions about what will happen in New Zealand if
voters endorse the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (CLCB), with
no regard for evidence from overseas.
It might have appeared out of the blue when Canada legalised cannabis
almost two years ago, but we were finally following the unanimous
recommendations of a non-partisan senate committee from 2002.
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SYDNEY, Australia - The question from the debate moderator in New
Zealand was simple and to the point: "Jacinda Ardern, have you ever
"Yes I did," said Ms. Ardern, the country's popular prime minister, "a
long time ago."
The moderator paused, looking surprised. Then the audience
Ms. Ardern later declined to say whether she supported the
legalization of marijuana, which New Zealanders will decide in a
referendum with the national election on Oct. 17. But by that point in
the debate on Wednesday, she had already won another smiley-face emoji
from the global left, while reminding voters that she hadn't always
been so earnest.
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Prof Joe Boden, of the University of Otago, provides a view from
inside the expert panel on cannabis ahead of this year's cannabis referendum.
A year ago several New Zealand academics, me included, were invited to
join the expert panel on cannabis by the Prime Minister's Chief
Science Adviser, Prof Juliet Gerrard.
With the referendum on the legalisation of cannabis planned for this
year, the Prime Minister had asked Prof Gerrard to assemble the panel
in order to present research on cannabis, cannabis-related harm and
cannabis law reform to New Zealanders in an accessible manner.
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