Article by Jo Moir and Adele Redmond, Stuff
Decriminalising cannabis would generate money for the Government and ease pressure on New Zealand’s courts according to an informal Treasury report.
The documents obtained under the Official Information Act by Nelson lawyer Sue Grey came from an internal Treasury forum “to test policy thinking on a range of issues in the public domain,” Finance Minister Bill English said.
The documents reveal Government spends about $400 million annually enforcing prohibition whereas decriminalisation would generate about $150m in revenue from taxing cannabis.
Moreover, it said reforming drug policies would “ease pressure on the justice sector, and lead to fewer criminal convictions for youth and Maori”.
Drug prohibition in New Zealand disproportionately affects males, Maori and youth. In 2001 Maori made up 14.5 per cent of the population but received 43 per cent of convictions for cannabis use.
The report also noted that “drug reform isn’t a particularly radical idea these days”.