Prohibitive drug laws have been used to reinforce racism and are even more harmful than the substances they outlaw, say two drug law reformists visiting from the US.

And they are urging New Zealanders to vote to legalise recreational cannabis at next year's referendum because it would allow drug users to avoid black market cannabis that might be mixed with other substances.

Lawyer Deborah Small and author Asha Bandele are the keynote speakers at the NZ Drug Foundation's annual symposium, Through the Maze, at Parliament today.

Small said that drug policy and racism went hand in hand, both in the

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