Ex-PM Helen Clark Backs Pro-Cannabis Legalization Referendum

courtesy of britannica.com

Helen Clark, known as the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008), has always maintained a connection to politics. The 70 year old Administrator of the United Nations expressed her hopes for the upcoming referendum in a recent interview. Hence, on a video conference with Stephen McDowell, a notable filmmaker, Clark gracefully weighed in with her stance.

The upcoming referendum in New Zealand is quite aptly called the ‘2020 New Zealand Cannabis Referendum‘. All eligible voters will cast ballots on September 19, 2020. This will coincide with separate referendums on the same day addressing euthanasia and the general election. The referendum will decide whether or not the substance will be legalized for recreational use in the nation.

Clark backs pro-cannabis stance, compares the legality of cannabis to that of prostitution

The matter of prostitution (more politically correctly called ‘sex work’) was also once a controversial subject in the country. Clark’s government moved to pass the Prostitution Reform Act of 2003, which legalized the practice. The underlying rationale behind the move seems similar to cannabis legalization in her eyes, it seems.

“…I wouldn’t be a sex worker, and I would never hire a sex worker. But do I want to prosecute a person who uses a sex worker? No.” And thus, Helen’s Clark’s words struck a cord on live social media.

The message behind the comparison rings true. As a lawmaker, it would be easy to veto that which she disapproved of. True selflessness, she must be saying, is allowing free will. The public must be allowed to make their own choices, and accept responsibility for their outcomes.

Clark also went on to discuss the limitations of these aforementioned freedoms. She stressed that they applied, as long as there was no harm to others. Also, she touched upon the need to avoid being judgmental or self-righteous. To this end, she declared her support of allowing adults to bear responsibility after being made aware of the consequences.

Cannabis legalization has rapidly become a worldwide discussion

Cannabis legalization is the only progressive way forward, both McDowell and Clark agreed. As she noted in the interview, cannabis is a relatively safe drug and not very harmful at all. Citing the latest scientific consensus, Clark also compared it with the free availability of tobacco. While the the former is vilified and controversial, the latter is easily and legally accessible.

On the subject on whether or not she herself would consume cannabis, Clark surprised most viewers again. She turned down smoking the drug, due to her asthma and allergies. However, she was not averse to its use entirely, and was open to taking it as an edible someday. She even joked about a friend who recommended her a cannabis-laced apple pie.

New Zealand is fast becoming one of the fastest acting nations with respect to a progressive agenda. While the legalization of sex work took time, the nation has also been quick to address immediate issues. The current Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, was praised for her swift gun control laws passed nearly overnight last year. This was in response to the deadly Christchurch massacres that left 51 dead and many injured.

Furthermore, also on September 19, the country will also host another referendum on the legality of euthanasia. This is yet another controversial subject, and only time will tell what is decided.

Other nations could learn from New Zealand’s Ex-Prime Minister

Other nations are slow to legalize the drug. Hopefully they too can realize the futility of their stances. Meanwhile, Helen Clark, despite her generation, is a reassuringly progressive voice for the world. Urging voters on, she inspires hope and reason to the masses.

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