Councillor resigns but will carry on cannabis fight

The controversial councillor behind a push to legalise cannabis has resigned from the Waimate District Council, but has vowed to fight even harder to legalise the drug.

In April, self-confessed dope-smoker Sandy Mulqueen led a bid to convince the council to back her We Desire Change legalisation campaign in its Long Term Plan, and although her submission was thrown out, Ms Mulqueen said the cannabis issue was not behind her decision to resign on Friday.

"I'm actually leaving town for work. I'm moving to Milton. We are opening up a new Waimate knitwear shop down there, and just didn't think it would be a good think trying to squeeze my council business into that as well. I can't do justice to the role."

She was disappointed the council had not "gone near" efforts to legalise cannabis, she said, adding that Waimate locals had remained supportive of her position in the council.

"Other people are able to block that out and deal with me like they always have."

Her efforts to lobby for a change to the law would continue.

"I feel freer now to say whatever I like, and I will be. I'm going to have a little more time on my hands, so I'm going to be working on a blog and just going to be trying to promote it a little stronger from now on."

Waimate Mayor John Coles said a by-election was not needed because the resignation was within 12 months of an election, but urban residents would now be under-represented.

"We did have an even split of four urban councillors and four rural councillors."