Open Letter To Right Honorable Winston Peters & NZ First About The Urgency Of Cannabis Law Reform

Dear Winston Peters

We would like to offer our congratulations to you and the New Zealand First Party, for winning your seats into Parliament.

We are writing to invite you to consider meeting with a delegation from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, to discuss progressing Cannabis Law Reform, as part of the new government arrangement.

We know that we did not get into parliament, but we were there scoring on the Leader Board, showing an indication from the people of New Zealand, who have been calling for change in cannabis law, for many years now. You yourself suggested a Referendum in the past.

 The Green Party have got a Medicinal Cannabis Bill in progress but it does not go far enough.

We need to stop convicting people for cannabis consumption, a victimless crime. Prohibition is an expensive failure resulting in loss of productivity. There have been recommendations for change from two Government Select Committees, as well as from the 2010/11 Law Commission Report, citing it as a health matter rather than a criminal issue. The Leader of the Labour Party Jacinda Adern, has referred to cannabis as a ‘health issue’, when asked about cannabis during the elections.

Most of the political parties are agreed on Medicinal Access, but delivery is not easy or cheap, so patients are still forced back to the black market. We request that you look at an Amnesty on all cannabis arrests until the issue can fully and fairly be considered.

Cannabis is an Herb that has minor negative effects.  With credible education, people will have a better understanding, how to manage it responsibly in our community. One of the main prohibitionist arguments is ‘what about the children’?

Any negative effects, are occurring under the current program of prohibition, where outside the law, there are no controls. Recently there have been 20 deaths from synthetic drugs, which are a product evolving from the current prohibition regime.  The development of the black market, for cannabis distribution, opened  the door and provided the market, for criminals to make money.  This helped establish and grow the gang culture, who have no qualms about riding the - out of control meth wave, sweeping this country.

When we look at the Dutch Model, where in Holland they have had cannabis Cafes, for more than a generation, there has been no detriment to their society.  In fact Holland has amongst the lowest teen suicide, pregnancy and drug uptake, in the Western world. Their prison population is decreasing while in New Zealand we are building more prisons, sold to the public, as employment opportunities.

We hope this will convince us to at least stop criminalizing our citizens for cannabis use, and at best set up an Enquiry for the way forward into Cannabis Law Reform, that will address  the issues of affordable medicinal access, as well as a system of Regulation  for R18 licensed  outlets,  for recreational use.  Recent figures show that 65% of New Zealanders want cannabis legalized.

In Colorado and Washington the recreational Cannabis Industry alone, is going to be worth $20 plus billion dollars by the year 2020. This inspires  financial job optimism for  New Zealand,  along with a comprehensive Hemp Industry which gives us all the basics of life, food, bio fuel, building materials, textiles, paper, plastic, medicine, saving our forests and streams, we will build our economy while saving our environment and increasing our productivity. Taxes for Health, Education and Housing.

We would never try to influence your decision with which political party you chose to make up our government.  We know in your heart you want to do what is best for New Zealand.

All we are asking is that you put the long suffering criminalized cannabis consumers out of their misery and help welcome them back in to normal society promoting the healing of our community. We know criminalizing our citizens is not the answer. Knowing this we need to stop it now. Continuing to perpetuate a law that is doing more damage and no good is negligent in our duty.

Cannabis prohibition creates a criminalized underclass who are forever compromised by their criminal convictions. It closes doors to jobs and opportunities, creating poverty and mental illness. This is the ugly underbelly of the results of prohibition that no one sees or talks about except for a brave few and when they do, they are labelled as ‘nutters’.  Even your ‘friends’ the journalists don’t want to acknowledge it.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party were formed in 1996 to work for Cannabis Law Reform – We hope that the formation of this new government will be the one to bring about change which all the evidence points to being beneficial for our country.

Thank you for reading our letter and looking forward to further communication with you on the best way forward for Cannabis Law Reform.

Yours faithfully

Irinka Britnell

Secretary – Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (03)981 5878

On Behalf of the Executive Team and -

Co Leader Maki Herbert 022 410 8369

Co leader Jeff Lye  022 602 9226

Legal Advisor – Michael Appleby – (04) 934 93898 – 027 440 3363 (Former Leader 1996 – 2014)


AOTEAROA  LEGALISE CANNABIS PARTY                                                        9th October 2017

P.O.BOX 13486

Christchurch 8141