New Zealand not ready for ‘liberalisation’ of drug laws says Health Minister

TVNZ One News 13 April 2021
Health Minister Andrew Little has shot down calls for a swift overhaul of drug laws, saying any major change would first have to go back to a referendum.

A host of health and social organisations Рincluding the Medical Association, Public Health Association and Mental Health Foundation Рhave published an open letter, asking for drug use to be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one.

Speaking to RNZ, Little said the signatories had an admirable goal, but should have acted sooner.

“Their gesture today is 12 months too late,” he said.

Little said the Government was now constrained by last year’s public vote on cannabis legalisation, which¬†returned 50.7 per cent in opposition.

“I would interpret that as ‘no, we’re not quite ready for this level of liberalisation just yet’,” Little said.

“Doesn’t mean to say New Zealand won’t be [ready] in the near future, but it would benefit from more public debate and scrutiny.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/new-zealand-not-ready-liberalisation-drug-laws-says-health-minister

Andrew Little says drug reform off the cards, Ardern challenges National over past criticism
NewsHub 12 April 2021
Health Minister Andrew Little has shot down calls for a swift overhaul of drug laws, saying any major change would first have to go back to a referendum.

A host of health and social organisations – including the Medical Association, Public Health Association and Mental Health Foundation – have published an open letter, asking for drug use to be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one.

Speaking to RNZ, Little said the signatories had an admirable goal, but should have acted sooner.

“Their gesture today is 12 months too late,” he said.

Little said the government was now constrained by last year’s public vote on cannabis legalisation, which returned 50.7 percent in opposition.

“I would interpret that as ‘no, we’re not quite ready for this level of liberalisation just yet’,” Little said.

“Doesn’t mean to say New Zealand won’t be [ready] in the near future, but it would benefit from more public debate and scrutiny.”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/04/andrew-little-says-drug-reform-off-the-cards-ardern-challenges-national-over-past-criticism.html

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