Hear me: Justice Minister Andrew Little says if he’s back in his role after the election in September and recreational cannabis use is legalised, there will be no “rescue package” for those convicted in the meantime.
Minister of Justice and Courts Andrew Little says he was offered cannabis by a man “toking up large” on the street a few months ago.
The Labour politician declined and pointed out the man was breaking the law.
“I said: ‘No, mate [and] just so you know, the law hasn’t changed yet brother; you’re taking a big risk there’ and off he went,” Little said. “Occasionally, walking down the street … you can smell the smell of the electric puha.”
Recalling the incident in Nelson this week, Little said that if he was back in Government after the General Election in September and the law around recreational cannabis use did change, convictions under the law in the meantime wouldn’t be expunged.
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“I’m reluctant to do that because the law is the law at the time,” he said. “The law is the law as it is at the moment, until it is changed, so people should observe the law as it is and there won’t be any rescue package for those who think: ‘Well, the law’s going to change anyway.’”
If a majority of those voters say “yes” they support the proposed bill, the incoming Government can introduce a bill to Parliament that would legalise and control cannabis. All three parties in Government during the 2017-20 term have said they will honour the voters’ choice in the referendum.
Little said even if Labour won the election with enough seats to govern alone, it would honour a yes result “but we expect through the public submissions process – because that is part of the democratic process – there may well be changes to the draft legislation but it won’t be going below the standards we’ve set in that draft”.
“>As then leader of the Labour Party in July 2017, Little said he did not think…