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. 

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She described New Zealand's medicinal cannabis law "too narrow", superseded if there were to be a 'yes' result at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum.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

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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