Does Peter Dunne want to see a change of government? He’s certainly been pushing a policy lately that his boss, Bill English wants no part of.
A week ago, Dunne put out a press release in his role as leader of United Future where he suggests a two step system: first, decriminalising Class C drugs and then second, regulating them under the recent Psychoactive Substances Act that was brought in to control the burgeoning ‘legal highs’ industry (born, in part, out of the illegality of cannabis).
NORML, the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, supports this approach. However, I am wary as what have we actually seen regulated and introduced to market via that Act so far? It has been bogged down in issues over animal testing and seems more like prohibition by another name than anything else. Am I wrong on this?
The press release was followed up by a flurry of news reports over the last couple of days. Dunne points to the success that Portugal has had lowering its drug use rates after decriminalising possession of all drugs in 2001.
Duncan Garner glibly states that Peter Dunne has been in Parliament 30 years and “he needs about another 30 to get this through.” Well yes, cannabis advocates have learned not to get their hopes up too much, but, both in NZ and worldwide, the issue has never been as hot as it is right now.
Nearly all the minor parties – Greens, Maori Party, United Future, TOP – support a change from the status quo. Labour is wavering, but in power and with coalition partners pushing it, reform would become likely, I think.
More and more, the public understand that change is needed. Maybe this issue will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?