Duncan Garner: Helen Clark has become a face of the 'vote yes' to legalising cannabis campaign - and it's odd

If you look at the polls, this highly emotive debate over whether to legalise cannabis is losing momentum - the 'vote no' campaign has been strong.

In these most uncertain economic and social times, do we really want to send an official message as a country to intentionally, or unintentionally, encourage stoners?

Or encourage more young stoners to follow them by saying no problem lads, go for it.

The Government would be saying "it's ok" - cone up, grab your bong, what could possibly go wrong.

Surely it can't be worse than booze. That may be true, but that's setting a low bar.

But it appears people have become more reserved about this referendum as it nears, and perhaps more cautious.

A recent survey shows just 39 percent support for a law change and 46 percent opposed.

Of course, it's not the only poll - but it appears that this will be a closely run race.

Enter former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who in many ways has become the most significant face of the 'yes' movement - because Jacinda Ardern is too worried being truthful will hurt her.

But Clark's position is odd, given: one, she was sensible enough to avoid this issue while Prime Minister because she liked her job; and two, given the evidence in favour of cannabis is inconclusive on the upside, but clear on the down side, I can't for the life of me work out why she's staking her reputation on this. 

If you were so keen on it, why not pass it into law alongside civil unions, anti-smacking and legalised prostitution?

For someone who banned smoking everywhere and is a true believer in public health - why?

She also says she would have moved on the issue in her fourth term, but I covered that election campaign intensely and never recall that pledge. Was she just going to slip it through? Who knows.

Truth is the 'yes' campaign is faltering and they need the big guns to speak up, but the biggest gun won't say boo - so the former big gun is filling the gap. Will it be enough? Who knows, but it looks in trouble.