In New Zealand, one person is arrested every 25 minutes for Cannabis possession, dealing, or holding. According to Julian Crawford and his Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, this just isn’t good for the country.
Crawford and his party want total legalisation of cannabis in New Zealand, allowing people to use the drug for recreational, spiritual, medicinal, and industrial purposes. They propose home growing also, which would see people being able to grow cannabis in their own home and not be criminalised for it.
Julian Crawford said “we want the legalise cannabis issue on the political agenda”.
According to Crawford, an ounce of cannabis (28g) can cost anywhere between $300 and $500. For smaller amounts, $20 is the price for a single gram. The average purchase, which is said to last the user anywhere between four days to a week, costs $50 for 3 grams.
The party is also keen on bringing in Cannabis Cafes, where people would be able to go in and smoke or purchase cannabis much like at a restaurant.
“There would be dispensaries where you would be able to buy cannabis and sit down with other people to socialize and consume that cannabis. We are going to have look at what smoke free regulations are in terms of having some outside areas. We will also look at using vaporizers as a safer form of using cannabis.”
Licenses would be issued to Cannabis Cafes through an application to the government.
Crawford also wants to see cannabis legalised for medicinal purposes.
“It is a high priority that cannabis gets legalised for medicinal purposes especially, people who need it urgently with conditions like epilepsy, and we have seen a large reduction in seizures.”
The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party states that the revenue to the New Zealand Economy through legalising cannabis would be at around the $1billion mark, but only a quarter of that would come from recreational use, and another quarter would come from freeing up the money currently spent on forcing prohibition.
A big focus in the policy that the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has put forward is that under their control, young children and anybody under the age of 18 could not use cannabis by law.
But how is this regulated and controlled?
With home growing being legal under their policy, it would be a push to assume that children in the house wouldn’t either have access to cannabis, or be given it by other people. Crawford argues that the situation is no different than alcohol, where parents would have to be responsible and not expose their young to cannabis.
“We can’t know for certain but we would still make it an offense for an adult to supply cannabis to a child.”
Under the current law, many are already growing cannabis illegally in New Zealand, and young people are already using.
Some could see Julian Crawford and his party as potentially making a growing problem worse rather than rectifying it.
Despite the lack of attention that the party receives from the major oppositions in parliament, Crawford and his Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party remain committed to lobbying government. In their minds, legalising cannabis could change New Zealand for the better, but some of their policies particularly around the claims that cannabis would not be accessible to young children need to be seriously looked at.
The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is aware of the risks its policies have, but feels the upside of cannabis being legal in New Zealand is fruitful, not only for users, but for everyone.