Editorial: Legalising cannabis isn't really normal

By Kelly Makiha

34 comments


Nope. It's not a joke. There is actually a serious suggestion to relax cannabis laws in New Zealand to try and boost tourism figures.

The idea has come from the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml), which, granted, isn't exactly impartial on such topics, after Colorado and Washington states last week voted to legalise marijuana possession for those over 21.

Norml reckons if we trial the same idea in New Zealand - picking Northland as a good spot for the trial because it holds the dubious honour of being New Zealand's cannabis capital - we too could reap the rewards of extra visitors.

Norml says cannabis could be taxed at a higher rate than other goods and part of the taxes used for drug education and rehabilitation.

The Government would also save the $500 million a year it spent on cannabis enforcement and imprisonment, it says.

Excellent.

So they want to attract a bunch of pot heads to New Zealand to walk around wasted enjoying our beautiful country.

They'd probably be too stoned to enjoy any of our great attractions and the only businesses that would benefit would be takeaway bars catering for their munchies.

Thankfully Northland's regional tourism leaders are already pooh-poohing the idea.

I am sure the Bay's tourism bosses are smart enough to do the same.

For years we have worked hard to attract top end visitors willing to spend good money for a quality experience.

I'm not sure Norml's plan would even work.

Would people really jump at the chance to fly across the world to New Zealand just to get high?

As one Northland councillor put it: "It'd be a long way to come to New Zealand just to smoke a joint."

Without sounding dodgy, I wouldn't need to fly to Amsterdam for the same experience.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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