I’m Tim McKinnel. For nine years of my working life my job was to protect families and communities as a police officer and drug squad detective.
Here’s the thing. We all want to live in communities that are safe, healthy, fair and protect the most vulnerable. So like many New Zealanders, I am contemplating how I will vote in the upcoming election and referendums.
During my time as a police officer, I saw how our current cannabis law does little to protect us, and in reality, causes more harm that good, especially to vulnerable groups in our society, including Māori and young New Zealanders.
Prosecuting people for cannabis use does not stop people using it. Nearly $200 million and over 330,000 police hours are wasted annually on cannabis enforcement and convictions, yet we have some of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world.
These are significant police resources that should be put to better use protecting us all from serious and violent crime.
This vote is a crucial moment in our nation’s history to make a progressive and positive change.
Legalising and controlling cannabis will not only allow the police to focus on more important issues, but it will also provide an opportunity for those harmed by cannabis itself to openly seek help and treatment without fear of being criminalised.
I think we need to update the law and take a more just and health based approach.
For me a “yes” vote is the obvious choice.
I encourage you to find out more at onourterms.org.nz so you too can be informed and make the right decision.
On October 17 I will be voting YES. For New Zealand. For our future.