Police "hunting down" casual marijuana users and growers is "the worst waste of taxpayer money", according to former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
During an NZ Drug Foundation meeting on Wednesday Clark said she supported voting yes during the upcoming cannabis referendum, as she believes it will improve public health and reduce criminal injustice.
"It's just a no-brainer to stop wasting our taxpayers' money with police helicopters hovering over the Kiwi bush, hounding down ordinary citizens who are having a joint of cannabis rather than a glass of wine, hunting down the Kiwis who are desperate for some kind of relief for a medical condition," she said.
"Let's stop all that...let's put it into something better."
If more than 50 percent of voters say yes to the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill in the September election then a Bill will be introduced to Parliament which would legalise and control cannabis.
Under the Bill, licensed cannabis products would become available in stages, starting with dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis plants, and cannabis seeds.
Clark urged people who are in support of the Bill to talk to others about it.
"This is not a referendum about whether cannabis should be available - it is already available," she said
"It's about putting controls around it."
The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill would allow people to possess and consume cannabis in limited circumstances, the Government says.
It would allow a person aged 20 or over to:
- Buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day from licensed outlets.
- Enter licensed premises where cannabis is sold or consumed.
- Consume cannabis on private property or at a licensed premise.
- Grow up to two plants, with a maximum of four plants per household.
- Share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.