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Ex-PM Helen Clark lashes out at current cannabis laws in NZ as a 'nonsense regime'

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark today described New Zealand's laws around cannabis a "nonsense regime", and called for minor cannabis convictions to be expunged if cannabis is to be legalised. 

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Miss Clark told TVNZ1’s Q+A New Zealand needs to look at other countries as she says the current cannabis policies are not working. Source: Q+A

Speaking at the Drug Foundation's biennial Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium, Ms Clark told the audience the upcoming referendum on cannabis legalisaiton was "not a vote on whether or not it should be available - it already is".

Ms Clark said the financial amount spent by police to enforce cannabis laws was "quite ridiculous", calling resources used a "waste of time, effort and money". 

"We can do a lot better than the nonsense regime we've got," she told the audience. 

She described New Zealand's medicinal cannabis law "too narrow", superseded if there were to be a 'yes' result at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum. 

"The wider [the scope of the referendum] will be, the happier I will be."

The former Prime Minister said cannabis convictions should be expunged, if the referendum was passed. 

Last week, the Helen Clark Foundation released a report recommending New Zealanders vote yes in the 2020 cannabis referendum.

It claimed criminalising cannabis causes social inequity and a drain on police resources.