Legalising cannabis could lead to gangs targeting younger people on the black market, pose major risks to health and safety and be a gateway to using harder drugs, a former police officer and current National Party candidate has warned.
Christchurch Central candidate Dale Stephens said decriminalising the drug and putting an age limit of 20 on its use would see criminals turning their focus towards children if the market for older people disappeared.
Stephens, who was a police officer for 20 years and spent four years investigating drug crime, made the warning during a discussion on the forthcoming cannabis referendum with Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson in Christchurch on Friday.
Davidson, whose party is pushing for legal access to cannabis, argued for it to be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue.
Prohibition had caused…