Labour has no intention of backing potential coalition
partner the Greens' policy of decriminalising cannabis,
leader David Cunliffe says.
Decriminalisation of the drug has been a Greens policy for
years but the party has avoided making it a high-profile
issue for some time.
With Labour's recent clarification of its cautious support
for deep sea oil drilling emerging as a potential stumbling
block for any post-election talks with the Greens, Mr
Cunliffe has been asked about his party's stance on cannabis
law reform as another potential difficult topic for the two
"People can put on the table what they want to put on the
table", he said yesterday.
"Labour's policy is not to decriminalise cannabis. That is
not our intention."
However, he confirmed that like alcohol and other "vices",
any cannabis law reform legislation that made it to
Parliament would be a conscience vote for his MPs.
"It's not for me to change that now."
Greens co-leader and former Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
member Metiria Turei said cannabis law reform wasn't one of
her party's major priorities, "but it is our policy and we're
not ashamed of it".
At least some of Mr Cunliffe's MPs want the issue examined.
Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway last year said
cannabis would be "a good candidate" for evaluation under new
legislation to regulate legal highs proposed by former
associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.
"It should be science and not politics that determines the
relative harms of specific drugs", Mr Lees-Galloway said at
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald