Kelston candidates: Should cannabis be legal?

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Kelston candidates are generally supportive of medicinal cannabis but have mixed views on recreational use.

NZ First’s Anne Degia-Pala said recreational use of cannabis should be decided by a binding citizens’ initiated referendum.

“The people should decide this issue, not politicians.”

NZ First's Anne Degia-Pala says: "The people should decide this issue, not politicians".

NZ First’s Anne Degia-Pala says: “The people should decide this issue, not politicians”.

She said NZ First was not opposed to legalising low THC medicinal products, “if medical experts are convinced of its efficacy”.

Maori Party candidate Cinnamon Whitlock said she wants to legalise marijuana for “medicinal purposes”.

Maori Party candidate Cinnamon Whitlock says she would legalise marijuana for "medicinal purposes".

Maori Party candidate Cinnamon Whitlock says she would legalise marijuana for “medicinal purposes”.

“I think there is sufficient evidence that shows the benefits of its use for people that have medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis [and] epilepsy.”

Her party’s stance was not in support of legalising cannabis, but it was open to discussion for its medicinal use in the future.

National’s Bala Beeram said his party had no plans to change cannabis laws for recreational use.

Labour's Carmel Sepuloni says she supports making medicinal cannabis available to people who need it.

Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni says she supports making medicinal cannabis available to people who need it.

But it did recognise some increasingly-advanced cannabis-based products could be “beneficial” for the treatment of certain conditions.

“Like any other pharmaceutical product, these cannabis-based medicines must be tested for safety and effectiveness and only be prescribed by a medical professional with the approval of the Ministry of Health,” Beeram said.

Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni said she supported making medicinal cannabis available to people who need it.

National's Bala Beeram says there are no plans to change the status of cannabis for recreational use.

National’s Bala Beeram says there are no plans to change the status of cannabis for recreational use.

“It is our policy to do this very smartly if we are fortunate enough to form [a] government.”

Her party colleague Damien O’Connor has had a medicinal cannabis bill in Parliament’s ballot, she said.

Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill was drawn recently and was set to be debated in Parliament.

Sepuloni said she would likely support that bill – “which goes much further than ours” – to its first reading.

The Green Party’s Nicola Smith said the party would like to legalise medicinal cannabis for people suffering from terminal illness or from chronic pain – if they had the support of a registered medical practitioner.

She said current cannabis laws were “out of date”, were “causing harm” and were “criminalising” those who didn’t represent any threat to society.

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