COMMENT:

Those of you who are partial to the odd joint would do well to avoid a roll-up with Simon Bridges.

The National Party leader reckons you could get 40 reefers out of the 14 grams you'd be allowed to carry around if the stuff becomes legal next year. He does admit they would be pretty thin joints.

Contrast the amount here with what you're allowed in Canada, where you'd almost need a knapsack for the 30g and a suitcase for your stash at home, where there are no limits.

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Here you'll be allowed two plants per person, although how that'd be monitored is anybody's guess.

To illustrate how much we'd allowed out with here Paula Bennett waved a bag of a green herb in the debating chamber and a salivating Grant Robertson was quick to his feet, challenging her to table the bag, meaning it'd become the property of Parliament. She didn't take him up on the offer.

It later transpired the bag contained oregano, which apparently isn't a very pleasant smoke.

The fact this Government's considering legalising the wicked weed flies in the face of its long-held objective of having the country smoke-free by 2025, an objective about as realistic as the KiwiBuild target.

James Shaw and Andrew Little during a press conference after the release of the first round of public information on the 2020 cannabis referendum and the draft Bill. Photo / Mark Mitchell
James Shaw and Andrew Little during a press conference after the release of the first round of public information on the 2020 cannabis referendum and the draft Bill. Photo / Mark Mitchell

But it's called Coalition politics, and this one is at the insistence of the Greens in their confidence and supply agreement with Labour.

Why they insisted on a referendum rather than making the decision themselves is a little difficult to fathom considering they will all exercise their consciences on the issue to give us the details of the law we'll get to vote on.

It's an issue the socially conservative New Zealand First would more than likely prefer wasn't on the agenda, but they've had to suck it up and swallow a lifeless rat on this one.

It comes as something of a risk to Winston Peters' party given the issue will be a drawcard for young liberals who, when they file into the ballot box, will cast their vote for Labour and the Greens.

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Essentially what the public will vote on is what many of us have done or are doing fairly regularly anyway. It's thought there are about 400,000 regular cannabis users in this country, and four out of five of us have at least tried the New Zealand green by the time we're 21.

By having it legalised it'll turn the black market into an open market, meaning it'll attract tax that'll hopefully be used to pay for roadside drug testing, which surely is just as essential for smokers as it is for drinkers.