OPINION: It is time for New Zealand to talk about Weed.
I say we need to put some reason and reality into the debate about cannabis.
We all get to vote on whether to legalise it for recreational use in 2020.
And I'm already over watching the two sides yell at each other, "yes" or "no".
This decision is too important for a debate like that. And New Zealand is better than that.
I've deliberately not said anything publicly about weed for 18 months.
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- New Zealand cannabis hospitalisations more than double in decade - Ministry of Health
I won't lie - it has been hard keeping quiet while the same voices say the same things.
But I've been busy making a documentary on it - out with the people who know the plant the best.
The users, abusers, dealers, police, patients, growers, entrepreneurs, scientists and influencers.
In Ruatoria, California, Nelson, Colorado, Vancouver and Hamilton.
And these people deserve a voice in this debate - we can learn from them.
It is a two-part documentary. The first part looks at the medical powers and asks if cannabis is the miracle drug New Zealand needs?
We meet a "Green Fairy" - an illegal medical supplier. And I interview my dad about my mum's painful death from cancer.
We talk to the New Zealand businesses out to grow it legally - Helius, Hikurangi and Cannasouth - even taking to the skies in a chopper to find good spots to grow it.
And we go to the United States to see how patients there can get cannabis. In Colorado, I ask a doctor to help treat me for stress.
That's just the first episiode - you can see some of that in the trailer.
In the second episode, I enter the world of recreational weed - another story altogether - as they say, there is much more to come.
Along the way I have gained respect for the plant - that doesn't mean I'm "pro-weed".
I don't actually care if people vote "for" and "against" - but I do care about having an informed debate.
The plant deserves a decent debate. And so does New Zealand.
Patrick Gower: On Weed. Coming soon to Three.
Patrick Gower is Newshub's National Correspondent.