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Ed Sheeran

Drug Foundation wants treaty in cannabis law
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The Drug Foundation wants Māori to be involved in the drafting of the laws that will be required if New Zealand votes for legalisation of recreational cannabis at next year’s referendum.

Chair Tuari Pōtiki says Māori know from experience that legislation designed without them hasn’t necessarily worked.

He says discussions with indigenous groups in the United States and Canadians indicate their concerns were overlooked in the legalisation process.

The foundation is offering to work with the Crown to establish a kaupapa Māori agency mandated to negotiate and lead the development of regulations.

The time to be engaged is now if Māori rights and interests are to be taken account of.

“We want to make sure the regulatory model that’s developed actively works to address the wrongs of the past so the fact Māori have been discriminated against in the past by the way the law has been applied, we want those wrongs reduced so we want whānau, hapū and iwi and individuals perhaps who want to engage in the economy that may come out of legalisation, whether through growing or packaging or whatever, we want a process that gives them a way in,” Mr Potiki says.

The Drug Foundation doesn’t want cannabis supply to be dominated by large corporates, and it wants local control and any taxes or reallocated police and justice resources put into dealing with the effects of drugs at a local level.

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