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No matter how the Government tries to spin it, the referendum on legalising marijuana will not be binding, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson Paula Bennett says.

“The Government’s decision to go with option three means that while legislation will be drafted, it won’t go through the House, meaning Parliament won’t have the opportunity to improve the legislation through the Select Committee process, expert advice and public submissions. 

“The Cabinet Paper leaked to the National Party was written pushing for option four which would see enacted legislation, this is also what the Greens were recommending. Instead the public do not get certainty and the advantages of a full Parliamentary process.

“Justice Minister Andrew Little has received advice from the Ministry of Justice that the only way a referendum can be binding is if legislation has gone through Parliament.

“It is too early to be having a debate about legalisation. We should have waited to see the evidence from Canada who only legalised in October. Since a referendum has been promised, we believe the public should have as much information and certainty as possible. This option does not deliver that.”

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