NORML believes cannabis should be treated in much the same way as we treat alcohol, with cannabis equivalents of pubs called Cafes or coffeeshops, and with a marijuana equivalents of licensing laws.
Just as we allow drinkers to brew their own if they choose, we should allow cannabis users to grow their own.
- The use and possession of personal amounts of cannabis should be legal, without civil or criminal penalties. It would be legal to give small amounts of cannabis to people over 18 for no profit.
- Cannabis smoking would be brought within the Smokefree Environments Act.
- It would be illegal to sell cannabis products without a license or to supply cannabis to people under 18 (unless you are their parent or guardian).
- It would be legal to sell cannabis products through a system of Cafes (coffeeshops), both for consumption on the premises and for takeaway consumption to people aged over 18.
- A range of cannabis products would be on sale, from pre-rolled joints to cakes and drinks, together with smoking implements designed to reduce the level of harm associated with smoking.
- Cannabis seeds should also be available, along with information about home growing.
- Cafes would be supplied by licensed growers.
- Commercial cannabis suppliers would be required to label their products with consumer information including weight, dosage, THC and tar contents, and approved health warnings.
- It would remain illegal to import or export cannabis without a license.
- Prices for cannabis products should be comparable to alcoholic spirits.
- Trading hours would be in line with surrounding trading hours and subject to local zoning laws.
- Cannabis products could be taxed at a rate of 50% of higher, with revenues used to fund effective drug education and treatment services.
- A realistic education campaign about the potential hazards of using cannabis and concentrating on safe cannabis use, should be implemented.
This model could have the following effects:
- Ending the billion-dollar black market and the violence and corruption it supports.
- A legal age limit would minimise the availability of cannabis to minors.
- Controlling the market, ending the glamorisation of cannabis, and allowing effective drug education will see cannabis use rates fall.
- There would be enough money to fully fund drug education and treatment for all who need it.
- Cannabis growers, distributors and sellers would have to pay GST, excise tax and income tax, and operate like a legitimate business. Those who don’t follow the rules would lose their license.
- People who currently grow cannabis for an income could continue to do so, as long as they behave themselves, follow the rules and pay their tax.
- Police would have additional resources to go after those who break the rules, and to concentrate on violence and organised crime.
- The regulated and taxed cannabis industry could yield more than $200 million for the taxman.
- New Zealand would be a free land once more!