Asking a question of the candidates at an election meeting is one of the best ways to help make drug law reform an election issue this year. The questions can be adapted to use in letters to newspapers and giveaways, radio talkback and so on.
Other ways to help: wear a badge, a bumper sticker, post news on Facebook, talk to family members, workmates, your doctor, hold an information stall, make a donation to NORML funds! 12-3057-0594667-00
Good questions make it hard for candidates to say “No”:
- Good questions are often short. Use humour!
- Give friendly candidates a chance to agree with you (don’t just ask one “enemy” candidate to answer).
- Ask questions in a way that gets audience support. Avoid making attacks on one MP/candidate.
- Don’t be a smartarse or lose your temper, whatever you do! What matters is what the public think, not the MP!
If we ask “good questions” at election meetings from North Cape to the Bluff, we will achieve our goal.
This is just a sample for discussion. Similar questions could be developed about the Global Commission, and the high (3.4 million) Californian vote to legalise cannabis, the successful decriminalising all drug use in Portugal etc.
|Safe, Legal Medicine||“I’m sure all the candidates know that marijuana in its natural form is legally regarded as a medicine by 15 American States and by Canada and some European countries. In May, our own Law Commission said NZ should follow this path and Police should leave medicinal users alone. Do the candidates agree with the Law Commission?”|
|Too Many Smokers to Arrest||“ A question for all the candidates. Do they know that there are officially about 400,000 adult New Zealanders who currently use cannabis, and also that NZ has the world’s highest arrest rate for cannabis ‘crimes’. Isn’t this a huge waste of Police time?|
|Regulated, Adults- Only (Taxable) Market||“Do the candidates know that NZ and Australia have the world’s highest rate of teenage cannabis use? Why don’t we regulate and control access with a legal, adults-only market such as in Holland?|
|? (risky…)||“Can any candidate tell me why the government gives knighthoods to people who make and sell us a dangerous poison, alcohol, and give jail terms to those who are caught growing a relatively harmless plant (cannabis)?|
|A Health Issue, Not a Crime||“The New Zealand Law Commission said our drug control laws are out of date, and that we should treat drug use more as a health issue and less as a crime. We don’t anymore treat alcoholics as criminals, or mentally-ill people as criminals. Do the candidates agree with the Law Commission on this point?”|
|An unjust, racist law…||“We are told that if we liberalised our drug laws, that would be sending the ‘wrong message’ to young people. I want to ask the candidates if they realise that the drug laws only catch about 1 or 2 percent of users every year, and they are mostly the young, the poor and the Maori. White, middle class professionals hardly ever get caught. What sort of “message” do you think is received by those who are the victims of this law”?|