Former Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne, says a regulated, strictly controlled market for cannabis should exist, similar to how we tightly we restrict tobacco now.
Dunne says it makes a lot of sense to have a referendum late next year, well before the General Election.
He told Chris Lynch the question will have to be specific, rather than just if it should be legal.
"I think what they should do is develop a proposal. If we have say legal cannabis market, this is how it's going to be, and make that the subject of the question that people can say yes or no to. If they say yes, the legislation is triggered and comes into effect immediately."
He says a simple vote of whether it should be legal would leave a lot of unanswered questions and is too uncertain.
Dunne says his personal opinion is yes, with strict controls.
"Time has come to move to a regulated market. Regulated products being sold to persons over the age of 18, no advertising, government collecting tax. It's the way we treat cigarettes at the moment."