Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party explains how marijuana could add $1b to NZ's economy

Laws surrounding cannabis consumption and regulation could be a hot topic of conversation this election year.

Despite having one of the highest consumption rates per capita in the world, New Zealand has not followed in the footsteps of parts of the United States and some European countries, which have legalised or decriminalised the substance.

Prime Minister Bill English is distancing himself from the conversation, suggesting putting an end to domestic violence and gang-related crimes are higher on his agenda.

The marijuana debate has become a wedge for some parties, but has unified other foes across the political spectrum.

United Future leader Peter Dunne's desire to regulate its sale to curb incarceration and divert legal costs into the health system is ideologically in sync with Gareth Morgan's The Opportunities Party.

In fact, their position is not all that far removed from that of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party, which advocates for full commercial legalisation.

Enter Abe Gray, the party's president. Mr Gray moved to New Zealand from Minneapolis, Minnesota upon hearing that New Zealand had elected its first rastafarian MP in the Greens' Nándor Tánczos in 1999.

"I thought I was going to come here and put my scientific botany skills to use and help grow New Zealand's economy through cannabis agriculture," Mr Gray says.

But after the Greens' failure to make advances in cannabis policy at the 2002 election, Mr Gray joined the Legalise Cannabis Party.

He believes the weed issue is a serious one and its decriminalisation could solve a large number of social problems, as well as adding some serious tax revenue to the economy.

Watch the video.

Newshub.

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