By Chris Bovey

The Justice Minister of New Zealand, Andrew Little, has confirmed his country will be holding a referendum on recreational cannabis use in 2020 and the result will be binding.

He indicated the question to be asked still needed to be worked out.

“There is a bit of detail still to work through, but we are telling the electoral commission that’s when it’s going to be,” said Mr Little.

A referendum on recreational cannabis use on or before the 2020 election is part of the Labour and Greens confidence and supply agreement signed between the two parties who govern New Zealand.

The news comes after I reported how New Zealand had relaxed its medical cannabis laws last week, allowing the legal supply to terminally ill patients.

I spoke to Jakinta Newport from the Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand to find out more about the new law changes and who are the 25,000 people they will benefit.

Logo of Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand.

Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand.

“They are referring to palliation and terminal conditions. People who are close to death,” said Jacinta Newport.

“However, the misuse of drugs act has changed and the police have been asked to show compassion and discretion with any chronically ill person who is caught with cannabis for self-use. The bill will be fine-tuned over the next year.”

Medical weed effectively decriminalised in New Zealand

This means cannabis for medicinal purposes has effectively been decriminalised in New Zealand while the government works out new legislation.

This is in stark contrast to the recent minor botched changes in the law in the UK by the British government who with the help of Tory funded cannabis pressure groups helped sell the lie that medical cannabis in the UK is now legal in the British media when in reality, it is not. The only thing that has changed is that very expensive private prescriptions can be prescribed by specialist doctors to a tiny number of patients who will have to jump through hoops of fire to obtain, assuming they can afford up to £1,000 a month to pay for the Big Pharma cannabis-derived medicines supplied at over-inflated prices by companies with dodgy connections to the Prime Minister’s family and her Drugs Minister.

No discretion or compassion in the UK

The police have been given no discretion to turn the other eye if they find a Multiple Sclerosis patient with a tiny grow tent in their spare room to grow their own medicine to alleviate their symptoms.

People with chronic fatigue or severe pain conditions still face having their doors knocked down by the boys in blue to steal their medicine, arrest them and prosecute them in the Courts.

The New Zealand Misuse of Drugs Act is in fact very similar to the UK’s 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, so it would have been very easy for the Conservatives to have changed the law over here in the same way the New Zealanders have. Sadly, British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, did not want to do that, as the financial interests of the husbands of Theresa May and her Drugs Minister are far more important to him than alleviating pain and suffering for people with severe pain conditions or terminally ill cancer patients.

New Zealand has found a much more compassionate approach and is to put it to its people a referendum asking if they want to legalise recreational cannabis for all adults, which is almost certain to pass as polls currently suggest two-thirds of Kiwis favour legalising cannabis.

The UK rarely does referenda. The last one concerning our membership of the European Union was fraudulent which was only narrowly won by the Leave side by lying and breaking strict election spending limits.

Caroline Lucas MP outside Parliament supporting drug law reform.

Caroline Lucas MP, the UK’s only Green Member of Parliament.

There is the Number 10 official government petition’s website, but this only exists to maintain the illusion of democracy in the UK. 10,000 signatories will get a government response and over 100,000 will prompt MPs to debate it. The last drugs petition to pass 100k was started by Green MP, Caroline Lucas, which called on the government to commission an authoritative and independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The first drug policy debate for over a decade took place as a result of Caroline Lucas’ petition achieving 134,835 signatories. MPs even agreed the current policies were not working, only for the Home Office to issue a statement the following day to say it had no intention of liberalising the UK’s drug laws.

One day Britain will reform drug laws. The dinosaur prohibitionist Tories will not be around forever, hopefully, after the Brexit shambles they created, they will be wiped out for good and be replaced by kinder more compassionate politicians. I am convinced once the Tories are gone, the UK’s drug laws will be reviewed to focus on genuine harm reduction and helping patients in need of cannabis as a medicine, rather than lining the greedy pockets of the spouses of corrupt Conservative politicians.

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.

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