Gareth Morgan’s proposal to legalise cannabis and sell it in a regulated market has fallen flat with the government and the Labour Party.
His Opportunities Party has just released the policy, which says legalising cannabis would free up $180 million in police resources and reduce the harm the drug causes.
“I’m not endorsing the use of cannabis,” he said on Friday.
“This is essentially about the government stepping in where organised crime is operating now.”
Under the policy, licensed suppliers and manufacturers would sell cannabis through regulated outlets and there would be a tax on it.
The legal age for buying it would be 20.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett says the policy is flawed.
“Most of those who try it are under 20 so they’d still be criminals,” she said on Newshub’s AM Show.
“We’re trying to cut down smoking, so we’re going to say OK, go and smoke some weed?”
Labour’s Grant Robertson says it goes too far.
“There are a lot of fish hooks in this,” he said on the same show.
“We’ve got to have a proper public conversation, not just a gimmicky policy.”