'I do like a party and I found it put me to sleep' - Paula Bennett reveals cannabis experience

Source: 1News

As National's new spokesperson for drug reform, Paula Bennett today revealed her experience with cannabis "at a very light level". 

"I haven't done hard drugs at all," Ms Bennett told media.

"As far as marijuana, I was a girl of the 80s and grew up in Taupō and have tried it at a very light level.

"It didn't agree with me, to be honest. I do like a party and I found it put me to sleep, so I was much more interested in enjoying myself."

Leader Simon Bridges was also asked if he had tried marijuana.

"It was Export Gold, up in Shadows [the Auckland University bar] that I was drinking, I never had cannabis," he replied.

When asked how she would vote on the cannabis referendum, Ms Bennett said she was not sure. New Zealand is set to vote on legalising cannabis at the 2020 election. 

"I'm not a prude, I'm a Westie and I'm a realist," she said. "But before we leap to legalising marijuana I want to know, what does it mean for the illicit drug trade?

"What does it mean for drug driving? How do we reach our goals of smokefree? We're then saying it's OK to have a joint but it's not OK to have a cigarette. I've got questions."

Ms Bennett said the Government had already moved drug issues into a health-based approach, but legalising "is another whole step". 

She spoke of overseas examples of cannabis-based ice cream, lollies and beer. 

"Those things frighten me, and those are the sorts of questions I want answered before I vote in that referendum," she said. 

Ms Bennett also said she could see the logic in pill testing at festivals, but she worried "about the message it sends".