Cannabis legalisation: Give us the freedom to decide
There is a lot of negative stigma around cannabis users as underachievers of society or "stoners", but in reality I am a 30-year-old professional who works in central Auckland.
You would likely come across me wearing full business attire holding a coffee in the mornings and you wouldn't have a clue.
Yes, I support the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. With the election happening in a few months I want my vote to matter - specifically for this issue.
And this is when I realise how powerless I am.
* What would happen if New Zealand legalised cannabis?
* What legalising might do to the workplace
* How much could we earn from tax on cannabis?
* Guide: Where political parties stand on cannabis law reform
Let's say I vote for The Green Party or The Opportunities Party. For the purpose of this discussion, even if we ignore the larger implications of how many seats these parties will get, there is no way to indicate clearly to them that I voted because I want them to take action on cannabis legalisation specifically.
More than likely I will end up indirectly supporting an agenda on a housing market policy which does not align with my interests or intentions. Personally, I think this predicament extends beyond cannabis legalisation to other policies as well - but that is outside of this discussion.
The biggest issue I have with the current state of cannabis legalisation is the absence of the freedom to choose. Why can't we vote directly for this?
The voice supporting legalisation of cannabis for recreational use in New Zealand is a loud but silent one. It only takes a few clicks through social media to find those who identify as supporters however, due to legal, social and career implications, the majority of supporters can only stay quiet and hope for a change. This is the position I am in.
Once every four years we have an opportunity to vote and send a message to the Government about what the majority of us want as a country. The best we could do is vote for a party with hopes that their actions represent our voices and best interests. From what I have seen, I can't say this has been the case and it is sad because I don't think our confidence in our Government should be this low.
There are other arguments surrounding whether cannabis is harmful to society, how alcohol is worse than cannabis or the benefit of additional tax revenue. Both sides of the coin have their value, but I say we let the majority decide - not a politician with another agenda.
If I am old enough to drink, gamble, or even apply for a firearms licence, I am old enough to decide for myself what I want to do in my spare time.
- Stuff Nation