New Zealand: NZ’s approach to cannabis convictions ‘fit for purpose’ says Justice Minister

Radio New Zealand reports

The government is welcoming the United States’ move towards decriminalising cannabis but says it has no plans to follow suit.

US President Joe Biden has pardoned thousands of Americans convicted of cannabis possesssion, urging state governors to do the same.

The dramatic move has prompted the Green Party to renew calls for the New Zealand Government to decriminalise cannabis.

Its drug reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said the birthplace of the ‘war on drugs’ admitting failure should be a “wake up call“.

Justice Minister Kiri Allan said while the news out of the United States was “positive”, New Zealand’s current system was fit for purpose.

“We have a slightly different context here. In 2019, we introduced the ability for the police to exercise discretion when it came to possession of cannabis offences.

“Subsequently, we’ve seen a radical reduction in terms of those that are convicted merely for cannabis possession.”

Allan also said she was committed to respecting the outcome of the 2020 cannabis referendum, despite voting in favour of reform herself.

“That’s something that we said we’d honour, whatever the outcome was, and indeed that’s still our position.”


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