Oldmanakbar: Legalization allows for the consumption of a product from known sources, quality control and taxation to offset the social harm aspect.
So you're 100% sure that legalising weed will stop the underground trade (eg through gangs)? You really think that people are prepared to pay 3, 4 or 5 times the price to get legal weed vs what they're paying now for illegal weed? Maybe a rich white person may be prepared to pay that but I bet that poorer people (of which Maori make up an disproportionate number) who struggle to make ends meet will carry on getting their supply from their underground contacts. And the underground illegal weed is from an unknown source, has no quality control, isn't taxed, and therefore has none of the benefits of legal weed.
The proposed legislation has a limit on how potent legal weed can be. Longtime users may find that this limit is too low for them and they may desire a stronger version. Their only option will be to turn to illegal weed to get the stronger stuff.
I've seen pro-legalisation people claim that legalisation will help Maori because they're the ones ending up with convictions, but it can only help them if Maori turn their back on illegal weed and spend more for the legal stuff. Actually that's a good point; under the proposed legislation will buying from an illegal source still be illegal? Could someone be convicted for buying some weed from the guy down the road who grows it himself?
I understand that what we have at the moment isn't working and that changes need to be made. I agree that prosecuting people for possession of weed is stupid and that people will find a way to obtain it no matter what. I just think that the proposed legislation won't have the benefits that the pro-weed people say it will have. I'm also concerned about the mental health implications which pro-legalisation people seem to be silent on.