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Ed Sheeran

Drug law change matter of justice
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A Māori cannabis reform advocate says getting September’s cannabis referendum passed is a matter of justice for Māori.

Jack McDonald, who recently finished a stint as Māori advisor to the Drug Foundation, says the legislation that will be introduced if the referendum is approved sets up a mechanism to control the market for cannabis.

He says that should resolve many of the public health problems around the drug, and allows society to approach it in a more reasoned way.

It will also take away the criminal stigma.

“The effects of a criminal record we know as Māori are huge, whether that’s on your job prospects of the ability to travel or get loans. Although the Bill isn’t perfect we should support it because this is a once in a generation opportunity to stop the criminalisation of Māori for drug use,” Mr McDonald says.

He will continue to push for the legalisation package to include wiping historic cannabis convictions.

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