Today (Tuesday May 22) at 4.20pm Jim Mora will host a discussion on RadioNZ between Sandy Mulqueen, Tim Watkins and Graham Bell from Police 10-7.

A Waimate councillor is calling for cannabis decriminalisation for the good of her community.

Sandy Mulqueen has formed a lobby group and has made a submission in the council’s long term plan outlining a project to decriminalise marijuana for personal and medicinal use.

The lobby group We Desire Change has been launched online and is backed by her submission.

A Facebook page dedicated to it has attracted 1100 friends since it was formed last week.

Ms Mulqueen says she wants cannabis legalised around the world. “It’s a wee bit of semantics; I’ve been using decriminalise but I don’t think it’s the right word.

“I think we need to open debate; we’re not being taken seriously by the major political parties.”

She believes the project will benefit Waimate.

Her proposal has not impressed Mayor John Coles who says she should take the matter up with central government.

“She’s come to the wrong place; I will leave it with my council.”

The group plans to compose an information brochure to go to every Waimate resident aged over 16, with reasons for, and details of the project, and a voting form.

“Completion of this project will have a positive effect on the well being of our community and better reflect the wishes of the people in Waimate and the wider community; thus it fulfils council’s core purposes under the Local Government Act,” she says.

“Bringing cannabis under a regulatory framework will allow us to collect real data from users, growers and suppliers of all types of cannabis products, including medicinal, agricultural and industrial, which will accurately determine the costs and benefits to society.”

A public education programme will be developed to engender support for law change and encourage sign-up for a supporters card.

Ms Mulqueen then plans to develop budgets for affected activities and enlist the support of other councils and stakeholder groups to develop a regulatory framework.

A mandate, backed by a comprehensive plan, will then be presented to the Government.

However, she is asking the council to fund planning and promotion until the public fund-raising stage is reached.

Sales of the supporters’ cards are expected to cover costs, she says. Otherwise the bill would fall on Waimate ratepayers.

“I’ve got a plan that could make us tens of millions of dollars; we could replace Bradshaw’s Bridge, build a community centre and restore the Quinn’s Arcade at no cost to ratepayers.

“We’ve been lied to for years about cannabis; it is the most wonderful plant on the planet.”

Waimate District Council will meet on May 28 and 29 to hear from submitters. The long term plan will be formally adopted on June 28.



Who is Sandy Mulqueen?

First-term Waimate district councillor.

Age 52.

Mother of two.

Lived in Waimate for 14 years.

Assistant manager at Waimate Knitwear.

– © Fairfax NZ News