The missing question from NZ’s cannabis debate: what about personal freedom and individual rights?


Much of the debate on New Zealand’s referendum
on recreational cannabis legalisation has focused on health,
the economy,
criminal
justice and the uncertainties about the impact on youth
and adult
use.

But one argument is oddly missing from the debate
— personal freedom, autonomy and individual
rights.

This is striking, because the issue of
personal liberties has traditionally been at the forefront
of cannabis reform activism. At the heart of all public
health laws is the conflict between the powers of the
state and the individual’s liberty, privacy and
autonomy.

In the past two years, constitutional courts
in
several countries have ruled the prohibition of use,
possession and private cultivation of cannabis interferes
with an individual’s right to privacy. They’ve said
protecting public health and security does not justify state
punishment.

It may come as a…

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