Chloe Swarbrick debates cannabis legalisation with Family First's Bob McCoskrie - 'Putting out the welcome mat for big marijuana'

New Zealand is set to have a referendum on the personal use of cannabis by, or at, the 2020 election. 

TVNZ1's Q+A sat the two sides of the argument down, with Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick debating national director of Family First Bob McCoskrie on the topic. 

It comes as Canada is just days out from legalising recreational cannabis.

"Canada is going to be doing this on Wednesday this coming week," Ms Swarbrick said, calling the country's regulations "robust". 

"They are focussed on harm reduction, they're focussed on education, they're focussed on taking it out of the hands of kids.  I think that's quite different from models that we have seen perhaps in the likes of Colorado which are more free market type models."

Ms Swarbrick said the legislation would be provided in New Zealand prior to a referendum, so the public would know what they would be voting on. 

However, Mr McCoskrie said it would be "putting out the welcome mat for big marijuana". 

"When you talk about a referendum on marijuana... people are thinking of rolling a joint and the mellow euphoria and it's going to harm nobody.

"But what you actually find is that this is big marijuana, at a time when we are kicking big tobacco out of this country finally because we have realised the health harms."

Watch the full debate here: 

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First and Chloe Swarbrick Green Party MP debate whether NZ should legalise the use and sale of cannabis. Source: Q+A

The pair have very differing views on how to tackle New Zealand’s drug problem. Source: Q+A