OPINION

The good news, and I am being very charitable here, but the good news in the government's cannabis vote announcement is we are voting on proposed legislation that will be enacted only if this lot gets back into power.

It potentially won't be enacted as voted, or indeed at all. It's important to understand the nuance of all of this. What we will vote on, and what will pass in the Parliament, are two very different things.

And that is, of course, if there is a yes vote. And this is where New Zealand First will once again save us - they will "CGT it" if the three pronged coalition is re-elected. So there is already a lot of water to go under the old dope bridge.

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What's been announced shows the vagaries and weakness of MMP. There is a tremendous amount of wastage of time, money, and energy.

Firstly, the Greens lost this battle. This is not what they wanted. They wanted a vote, and for that vote to be law on the spot. Their original win was to get a vote in the first place. That was part of their confidence and supply document. It was a sop that, with yesterday's details, reveals the chances of us ending up in a government supplied pot café is slim indeed, thank goodness.

Because if a yes vote gets up, the proposed legislation goes to the house. What does the house do with it? Potentially scuttle it. If the Parliament is roughly the same as it is now, it should be scuttled. New Zealand First will see to it.

It is impossible to believe the two heaviest hitters in that party - who come from Northland, an area ravaged by drug abuse - are going to proactively promote more drug use, use taxpayer money to supply drugs, and then stand by writing the cheques required to mop up the social and economic harm of their actions.

This, by the way, is also a big loss for the Greens, especially the James Shaws, who are desperate to have their party look like a genuine Green Party: as in national parks, walkways, and snails, as opposed to the wacky, social engineering party that the potheads would like.

For every minute Shaw spends on renewables, the crazies talk about edibles. Trying to be both has damaged them for years, and they still haven't learned the lesson.

Of course, National will campaign against this sort of madness, and there are votes in that. Taking a strong stand against drugs is a path to popularity, as it connects with large swathes of middle New Zealand.

Which leaves Labour, who may or may not be for any of this, stuck in a quagmire of indecision, just like with the CGT. They want us to be smoke-free - Helen Clark's idea - but not dope-free.

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They rail against social ills and deprivation, yet support, if not encourage, our right to obliterate our brains. It's a mixed message, and it's the price you pay for hanging out with the wrong crowd.

We shouldn't even be having this debate. We have much more pressing business as a country. But we can, at least feel given the way it's been outlined, know that preventing legalised cannabis ever seeing the light of day will be a lot easier than it could have been.