Clear majority supports cannabis change

A poll commissioned by the NZ Drug Foundation on cannabis shows a clear majority supporting growing and using cannabis for medical purposes, including a majority of supporters of all of National, Labour, Greens and NZ First.

Growing or using for a medical reason like pain relief:

  • Keep illegal 16%
  • Decriminalise 16%
  • Make legal 63%

There was slightly more support fro ‘make legal’ – 66% – if a terminal illness was involved.

Results on possession for personal use are more mixed but still with a clear majority of 64% wanting change.

Possession of a small amount for personal use:

 

  • Keep illegal 34%
  • Decriminalise 31%
  • Make legal 33%

Full results:

150816cannabisonline

The poll of 1029 respondents ran from July 18 to August 2 and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

However chances of change look non-existent under a National Government, even though a majority of National voters support change.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has said that the Government is clear on its position – that leaf cannabis would remain illegal.

This is political speak for ‘National refuse to go there’.

And don’t expect much from Labour either. Last week Andrew Little told a student radio station that Labour could hold a referendum but later backed off that position.

Newshub: Where does Labour stand on decriminalising cannabis?

In the interview with Salient FM on Tuesday he was asked to clarify his stance.

Asked “so you will possibly have a referendum?” he replied: “Yeah, we want to make sure that there’s a good information campaign about it and have a referendum about it and let people decide.”

When asked how much of a priority it was, Mr Little said it wouldn’t be in his first 100 days.

“[It] may not even be in the first term but it would be something I’d be happy to see at some point in our term of government.”

But today he’s backpedalling.

“I’ve been very clear, it’s not a priority, I’ve got no commitment to make about it; it’s not a priority,” he told Newshub.

Would Greens force the issue with Labour? How hard Greens pushed Labour for change on cannabis law would show how serious they are. It is Green policy but tends to be ‘not a priority’ with them as well.

‘Not a priority’ is political speak for ‘we want to look like we support it but don’t want to actually do anything about it’.

 

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44 Comments

  1. Kevin

     /  15th August 2016

    Why stop at marijuana? Why not legalise MDMA, LSD, meth and heroin? The same reasons for legalising marijuana can be applied to other illegal drugs.

    I’m being serious here. Is it because the potential for abuse is much less with pot than say acid or meth? After all you would need to smoke a lot of dope all at once to get the same effect as a 200ug tab of acid.

    And on the face of it’s a fair enough argument. But most people are temperate drug users and when faced with a choice will choose the “weakest” form of a drug. That’s why beer is more popular than spirits and why if opiates were legalised most people would choose opium over heroin.

    Which means drug prohibition punishes the majority for the sins of the minority. and can be only justified if the harm caused is greater than the harm prevented. To use an analogy if say just .005% of Muslims are Islamists with the capacity and will to commit terrorism, stopping all Muslim immigration would be unfairly punishing the majority of Muslims. It would be much better to impose sensible but also fair restrictions on Muslim immigration so that the number of Muslims never reaches the point where the number of those who are Islamist reach a significant number.

    Which brings me to my point. It would take a very brave government to legalise drugs so I would propose the following compromise. Keep them illegal but make possessions of small amounts either legal or punishable only by a fine with the amount you’re allowed based on the drug’s potential for harm. That’s basically the approach Belgium has taken and so far it seems to be working out ok.

    And if you say “I don’t use illegal drugs so drug prohibition doesn’t harm me” well I don’t see the big deal with drugs either and whatever you’re position a choice is being taken away from you . And that from a libertarian point of view is harmful.

    Reply
    • “Why stop at marijuana? Why not legalise MDMA, LSD, meth and heroin? The same reasons for legalising marijuana can be applied to other illegal drugs.”

      Quite different reasons between drugs with quite different risks.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  15th August 2016

        The argument can be made that with proper education as to those risks & the extremely adverse effects of both short & long term use users might even be fewer than today & counselling & treatment far better & easier to access. It will also take those horrible drugs out of the hands of the hopeless addicts & dangerous criminals who successfully peddle them at the moment?

        Reply
      • the argument is between legalizing and decriminilizing these other drugs, no one is suggesting we have dispensaries for meth, but its about creating an environment where meth users aren’t cowering in fear, and can stick their necks out for help when they need it. We cant stop people using drugs, but we can stop them being marginalized…

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  15th August 2016

          we already have dispensaries for methadone…do we not!

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  15th August 2016

            Yes. The local chemist tells me registered addicts are able to take methadone in their pharmacy under supervision. It is something of a risk at times.

            Reply
            • pickled possum

               /  15th August 2016

              Yes it is a risk. I have a pharma tech family member and heard a few scary stories but if the person lives outta town they can take 2 days worth home. Making a chemist person the admin of the drug is not always safe.

          • I meant Methamphetamine, I consider Methadone a bit of an underutilized wonder drug for chronic pain….

            Reply
      • Kevin

         /  15th August 2016

        “Quite different reasons between drugs with quite different risks.”

        That’s kind of what I mean by potential for abuse. But by allowing possession of small amounts based on the potential for abuse then you address that problem while still allowing freedom of choice.

        Reply
      • well said PG ! 🙂

        btw; is it PC or Insp. Kevin ?

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  15th August 2016

          Don’t worry. Paranoia is healthy when they are really out to get you.

          Reply
  2. pickled possum

     /  15th August 2016

    I was listening to Helen K on the radio this morning, how she has her mariwanna in the evening and she has a good sleep for the night. Nothing else works for her as well.
    Kia kaha Helen on your journey.

    Why not legalize and decrim mariwanna? When was the last time a person who ‘overdosed’ on the herb run amok and killed people? or tortured people? or abused children sexually and physically? well according to the NZ Media NEVER, because if it has happened we would have heard about it, dontcha think.

    Peter Dunne has the power over this? Y? his son is a synthetic man, so does that not mean there is a conflict of interests here for P Dunne?

    When pushed for a answer about ‘should we legalize or decrim’ John Key said he wouldn’t want to do it. Y not John? really??? Oh you are “not a massive fan of cannabis reform” well John 2 thirds of the poll people are.

    If you had a mother who moaned in pain with a life destroying disease, pain which only mariwanna could ease, which gave her side effect free pain relieF, wouldn’t you want your mother to die peacefully without a contorted face filled with unimaginable pain?

    Don’t you think a mother who gave her life to bringing up her children (who are now the ripe fruit of the tree they were produced from) and served her community with so much energy, love, caring and passion John Would you ask for some relief for her???

    Your catch cry of “I think if we decrim mariwanna we will be seen as saying increased drug use is ok”
    NO John and your party will be seen as caring for a vulnerable sick and frail person who wants to go to the Last Place with peace. DH

    Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  15th August 2016

    John knows the liquor lobby do not want it.

    Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  15th August 2016

    The politicians say the debate should be around ‘Harm minimisation’ BUT the majority continue to promote the status quo.. which is closer to HARM MAXIMISATION; gangsters, black-markets, corruption & criminalisation/zero-tolerance ! 😦

    @kevin.. what a load of alarmist B-S

    Reply
  5. I honestly and sincerely hope that by late next year this has become a big election issue. If neoliberal ‘reform’ and “deregulation” had ever truly been about “personal freedom and responsibility” we wouldn’t be going through this utter shite!

    Makes me want to weep, a government (and people) held to ransom and/or pacified by the liquor and pharmaceutical industries and other corporate lobbies. And for his “confidence and supply” Peter Dunne is given the portfolio of keeping Aotearoa-New Zealand in the drug and substance Dark Ages …

    I heard someone on RNZ yesterday – a Mr Bell I think, marijuana reform advocate? – say “we don’t support people growing their own medicine in their own backyards” (of WTTE) and I thought, “Oh … FOR F%CKS SAKE!!!”

    Really??? … like oranges, grapefruit and lemons … or maybe Willow Bark … Comfrey … Kopa Kopa (Plantain) ,… and the list goes on and on and on …

    A non-pacified population would have rioted about this (and many other things) years ago!

    Reply
    • Next it’ll be “we can’t support people growing their own food in their own backyards” …

      Reply
      • @PZ

        reminds me of a comment by a Prof. at NY med-school (paraphrased) who said ‘current laws are like allowing ‘vitamin C’ tablets, but banning oranges/OJ’

        its all about ‘money money MONEY’ & obviously a lot of people are quite happy ‘profiteering’ & job protection (police, courts, customs & prisons) from prohibition, as they have been doing for 40+ years now ! 😦

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  15th August 2016

        :/

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  15th August 2016

      Gave ya an uptick even allowing for the ridiculousness of the last sentence PZ.

      Reply
  6. Cannabis Prohibition=state sponsored NAZIsm.. so sez I&I 😦

    Reply
  7. Blazer

     /  15th August 2016

    ‘its not the deed,its not the thought,its not the crime…..its if ya…get…caught’!(TOP)

    Reply
  8. NZ Herald report confirms Key is totally out of touch on this:

    ‘Cannabis law reform is finding wide acceptance including among National supporters, according to a new poll.’

    ‘Prime Minister John Key says decriminalising cannabis would send the wrong message to young people.’

    ‘A new poll shows almost 65 per cent of New Zealanders want personal possession of cannabis decriminalised or made legal.’

    ‘There is even stronger support to let people use cannabis for pain relief – only 16 per cent of New Zealanders want that to be criminal.’

    ‘Even among National voters there is majority support for the law on personal possession to be reformed.’

    ‘But Key told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning that he did not think changing the law would be a wise move.’

    “My longstanding view, whether you like it or not has been that I think it sends the wrong message to youngsters.”

    “I think there are potentially health implications from sustained use,”
    he added.

    ‘While acknowledging other countries including the United States had moved to decriminalise possessing small amounts of cannabis, such a move was not on the Government’s agenda, Key said.’

    ** maybe Key believes all the ‘reefer Madness B-S’ too.. about its only young people who use cannabis OR its causes insanity OR leads all users to become HEROIN addicts too !? 😦

    “how narrow-minded” sez I&I

    Reply
  9. OR are ‘Team Key’ receiving large ‘DONATIONS’ from the Prohibitionists lobby ? :/

    Reply
  10. Aotearoa/NZ is usually listed/seen as a ‘western/OECD’ country.. BUT on this issue; we are increasingly looking like our close proximity ‘Asian neighbours’ which promote do ZERO-tolerance to ‘DRUGS !’

    Maybe the poll should have asked:

    1) do you support shooting/executing ‘Drug dealers’ (as in Indonesia) ?
    2) do you support ‘death squads’ roaming the streets gunning down ‘DRUGGIES’ as is now occurring under the new President in Manila/Philippines
    3) Is Zero-tolerance. to cannabis really the ‘Kiwi way’ ? (we have amongst the highest use/ARREST rates per capita, in recent UN reports)

    OR

    4) Is it time to catch up to other OECD countries: Canada, Australia, much of EU, half of USA states (climbing) & several nations in Sth America.. that have already decriminalsed medicinal use & are increasinly moving to regulate personal use too !!

    “WAKE UP TEAM-KEY.. its 2016 not 1975 !”
    the WAR on Drugs is well passed its useby date :/ 😦

    Reply
  11. patupaiarehe

     /  15th August 2016

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11693667

    But Key told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning that he did not think changing the law would be a wise move.
    “My longstanding view, whether you like it or not has been that I think it sends the wrong message to youngsters.”

    I get a bit sick of all this talk from politicians about ‘sending messages’. I thought in a democracy the pollys were supposed to listen to messages from the public, like the one in this poll. The above quote just highlights his arrogance, and how out of touch with reality he has become, if he really thinks that ‘youngsters’ pay any attention to ‘messages’ from politicians…

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  15th August 2016

      Give yourself an uptick, and call it another one from me please patu.

      Reply
    • just excuse, excuse, excuse.. for the likely facts that he & his cronies are being ‘paid off’ by those who profit most from prohibition.. to maintain it ! 😦

      Key said ‘if we decrim. cannabis, it will only increase use & there will be a ‘tinny house’ on every street corner.. & WE DON’T WANT THAT !’.. I&I would prefer : licensed. regulated (non-blackmarket) ‘coffeeshops’ etc. where ADULTS can go & purchase it & maybe socialise with other ADULTS.. like going for a social drink or two.

      Talk about total MISINFORMATION, nonsense & in the end.. just plain B-S !!

      Reply
      • patupaiarehe

         /  15th August 2016

        Yup, check out this pic of him, looks like he’s half pissed 😀

        Reply
        • Key infers that law reform will makes things worse (massive increase in users).. maybe he should just pull his head out of his A.. & maybe he will ‘see the light’ 😀

          NZ has amongst the highest use rates in the WORLD already.. I seriously doubt that suddenly all the people who dont already use the weed will all take it up, if they decrim. or legalise it. 😦

          Its the current regime that has created this situation.. PROHIBITION (just like 1920s USA, with alcohol)

          Reply
  12. patupaiarehe

     /  15th August 2016

    Reply
  1. other stats | End the Drug War in Aotearoa/NZ

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