Sam Neill has urged the New Zealand governemnt to legalise the sale of marijuana. The Jurassic Park actor took to Instagram today to encourage people to vote in the upcoming general election on 17 October, with early voting now open.
The election is being held in conjunction with a referendum on the country’s cannabis legislation.
Neill shared a post to his official account claiming it was ‘crucial’ people took part and outlined what he believes to be the benefits, both personal and financial, of the decriminalisation of weed.
In a post, he said: “NEW ZEALANDERS! Kiwis everywhere! Make sure you vote in this vital election. Easy to do, crucial that you do so. And while you’re at it, let’s all get sensible and finally LEGALISE marijuana, for heaven’s sake. Decriminalise it, regulate it, tax it… the whole community benefits (rather than gangs).
“The police have better things to do, they’ve got enough on their hands already. And this anxious year, so many people I know have benefitted from the flaming and soothing properties of CBD. I’m all for it and I hope you’ll join me in #makeItLegal #healthNotHandcuffs #voteYes.”
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, the maximum sentence for possession of cannabis in New Zealand is three months’ imprisonment or a $500 (£260) fine.
A recent study from the country’s leading health body found that 15 percent – around 590,000 people – of New Zealand adults had used cannabis in the past 12 months.
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The 73-year-old’s post was met with a lot of support from others who believed legalising the drug could benefit the country and its people.
Commenting on the post, one follower said: “Well said. I hope people listen. I’m a Kiwi living in Australia and made my vote count today.”
Another put: “Well said! As with all drugs harm reduction is the public health strategy. Marijuana is very beneficial for many and should be legalised so that it can be regulated and people can be sure that they are getting a good clean product with a known strength. At a reasonable price!”
A third wrote: “I agree it should be regulated somehow and made legal everywhere, just as alcohol is. I do not really smoke anything but I support this issue.”
While another added: “Yes man! Keeping marijuana illegal is promoting crime and keeping money that could be taxed in the hands of gangs.”
However, some pointed out that there was a difference between CBD oil and actual cannabis.
They said: “Mmmmm yes but Sam there is a big difference between cannabis and CBD oil. One gets you high, the other not… CBD only beneficial for pain relief.”
According to reports, the party of incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to win the election quite comprehensively.
The News-Colmar Brunton poll showed support for Ardern’s Labour party, which is now attempting to achieve a second term in office, was at 47 percent.
A second referendum on whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should come into force, is also being held on the same day – this will give people with a terminal illness the option of requesting assisted dying.