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Ed Sheeran

Vote of no confidence in drug law reform

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A Māori cleric and historian says he's voting kao to liberalising cannabis laws because he doesn't believe the change will benefit Māori.

Hirini Kaa says the change is being sold on the basis making cannabis legal will allow the physical and psychological harms to be dealt with as a health issue, while also addressing the inequity in the percentage of Māori charged, convicted and jailed for drug offences.

He's not putting any faith in a health system that has failed Māori to be successful in this case.

It's also not going to fix a racist legal system.

"Unfortunately our people get arrested for a whole lot of causes. Drugs is just one of the many gateways in there. This isn't going to lower incarceration rates. There's not a lot of people in prison just for cannabis use or possession. It's other causes. The police are going to look for our young people regardless. Cannabis isn't the answer to our racist legal system," Dr Kaa says.

He also fears if the referendum passes the next Labour Government will act as if it doesn't need to do anything else to fix the legal system.

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