Kate Hawkesby: Will calls for another cannabis referendum be taken seriously?

NewsTalk ZB 30 November 2020
Family First Comment: Kate sums it up well – again! 😊
“I can’t help thinking of all the things we could be getting signatures over for important referendums in this country, decriminalising something that’s barely criminalised as it is, seems pointless. So maybe the lesson here for those on the losing side of this debate now is – just let it go.”

God bless the 20 year old Young Greens activist who wants a citizen initiated referendum on the decriminalisation of cannabis.

All he’s doing is highlighting how the government got this wrong first time round.

How much the pro lobby shot itself in the foot with its attempts to legalise? Mixed messaging, confusing misleading statements about medicinal, the advantage it would give big business, the smattering of weed shops around the country. It over shot the mark, went too far, and it didn’t convince enough New Zealanders to make it a reality.

It should’ve focused on decriminalisation not legalisation in the first place. It should have kept the messaging simple. But that’s all history now. The fact is, they lost.

But it was close. So close it’s not remotely surprising that someone has popped up and said let’s try that again.

A citizen-initiated referendum needs 355,000 signatures within a year to get to referendum status.

It’s not binding – and here’s the key – it’s up to the government to decide at that point if they want to go ahead with it.

Two problems here. One, even if it gets enough signatures, historically governments don’t do anything with citizen initiated referendums other than ignore them.

Two, they’ve missed the point. The government has already put in place policing measures which see most cannabis offences overlooked, given a warning – anything but actual prosecution.
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/early-edition/opinion/kate-hawkesby-will-calls-for-another-cannabis-referendum-be-taken-seriously/

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