Poll suggests more progressive cannabis law reform wanted

People hoped that a new Government, especially one with Greens and Labour dominant, would properly address dysfunctional cannabis related laws. The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill is set to be passed this week, probably on Tuesday, but the lack of scope that has made it through the parliamentary system is underwhelming. Many will be disappointed.

A poll suggests that a majority of New Zealanders want more from Parliament – more like moves in a number of other countries, like Canada and United States who are far more progressive.

NZ Herald: Kiwis support medicinal cannabis for many conditions: Poll

A majority of New Zealanders say medicinal cannabis should be allowed to treat chronic pain, sleep disorders and other conditions, according to a new poll.

The Horizon Research poll, which was commissioned by fledgling medicinal cannabis producer Helius Therapeutics, comes just before a bill is expected to pass that will allow the use of medicinal cannabis for people who need palliative relief.

The poll, which canvassed the views of 2105 adults, showed support for medicinal cannabis to be allowed for a range of conditions.

Should be used for:

  • Chronic pain 68%
  • Cancer 58%
  • Epilepsy 52%
  • Multiple sclerosis 50%
  • Anxiety 49%
  • Arthritis 48%

I expect that those percentages would be much higher for those suffering from chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety or arthritis.

I wonder how these approval ratings would compare for the use of morphine?

The Government bill requires regulations for a medicinal cannabis scheme to be made no later than a year after the law comes into effect. There will be further consultation on those.

Other findings from the poll:

  • 75% agreed that medicinal cannabis should be treated the same as any other medicine
  • 59% agreed that doctors and nurse practitioners should be able to issue “medicinal cannabis cards” so patients could access cannabis products from pharmacists without prescription

More on that last result from Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ:

Recently Helius has commisioned a Horizons poll outlining attitudes around Medical Cannabis.  With the final reading of the Medical Cannabis bill likely to be early this coming week, it outlines strong support across the political spectrum for significantly more reform than what was offered in the Govt Cannabis Bill.

“A key critique of the govt bill is that it shows no shape or intent outlining the nature of the ‘scheme’. Public support as polled shows strong support for a Card based access scheme similar to what is in place in many US States, and as proposed in Dr. Shane Reti’s private member’s bill” says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.

The Headline result shows that support for a card scheme is at 59%, with those opposed only at 18%

“Such results should be taken seriously by the team at the Ministry of Health who will be in charge of creating the scheme. Its a timely poll in that the next phase will be reliant on these unelected officials to balance the demands of the public, along with political expediency and the nature of managing the public health risks and benefits such a scheme may entail”.

“The preference of the public is to destigmatize Medical Cannabis, which aligns with our charities views. Essentially we would be satisfied if ‘Balanced’ Cannabis products were treated with the same caution as lighter Opioids and Benzodiazepines such as Codeine and Diazepam, which are prescribed quite freely”

“Unfortunately the wording of the question suggests following the traditional medical development model, which is where cannabis-based medicines hit a snag, its commercial suicide to do large-scale phase 3 trials for Medical Cannabis products, where the compositions etc are not able to be protected by patents”
This leads into our main issue with Medical Cannabis gaining legitimacy, the paucity of Phase 3 RCTs”

It is the hope of MCANZ, that with the successful passage of the bill, that the Minister and the Ministry waste no time in getting the regulatory consultation underway, and use such polls in their initial planning.

After initially indicating they would take urgent action over medical cannabis availability. It has taken a year to get a watered down bill over the line.

It could take up to another year to put it into effect.


Leave a comment


  1. PartisanZ

     /  10th December 2018

    A Bill so watered down it constitutes a ‘Clayton’s Bill’ …

    What’s that cloud of dust there?

    Oh, nothing … That’s my Labour Candidate Vote disappearing into the distant political void …

    I’d have been better ‘wasting’ it on Democrats for Social Credit …

    I’m sorry Shane and MCANZ, but I don’t believe for a moment that Dr Shane Reti’s intentions are anything like “to balance the demands of the public, along with political expediency and the nature of managing the public health risks and benefits …”

  2. Duker

     /  10th December 2018

    I think we can take with a grain of salt these results, without knowing the questions, as the quack medicicall Marijuana company is behind it. Looks like the wrote the press release as well, pushing the ‘cards’. I’m certain we won’t be allowing that to happen.

    • Helius did not write my press release, the horizon poll was 2k respondents, much larger than typically done for these sorts of things, where 1k was enough,

      The wording was “do you agree or disagree with the proposal to allow access to medicinal cannabis for people with an access card, issued by a prescribing doctor or nurse practitioner”

      The challenge is Labor is relying on the MOH to sort it all out next year, this poll shows a strong preference for a card scheme, which is a boon for patients.

      • PartisanZ

         /  10th December 2018

        Shane … And what do you think the likelihood is that access will be extended to Chronic Pain, Debilitating Diseases like MS, Arthritis and Anxiety?

        Even if the odds are fairly good – which I doubt – how long do you think it will take?

        It’s a big assumption on my part, but I assume Cannabis Law Reform is now being driven by Big Pharma … or ‘corporately’ … If so I don’t understand why they’re not pushing for expanded access themselves? More prescriptions = more profits …

        Is it because the Cannabis Medications will compete with their own Pharmaceutical Drugs?

        Hard to imagine someone choosing Opiods over Cannabis with their respective death rates …

      • Glad to hear from you Mr Le Brun
        I have been hearing your name in the media & parliament too.. all good
        “Tautoko to whakaaro me kaupapa Shane”

        I am just glad to see that the new provisions will go further than ‘status quo’ & may finally lead to a decent Med-use regime. (as in section 8 MODA)

        Natl can spout on a about having a better, more comprehensive bill.. but they hid behind Dunne for 9 years & did almost nothing !

        They should have put up.. they can now, just SHUT UP (IMHO) & accept that it IS the new Lab/NZF/Grn Govt. that have allowed this change. Methinks more is to come with the establishment of a taskforce to set up an ‘authority to control wider use’; Chronic pain etc.

        • Zedd

           /  10th December 2018

          Things can only get better.. esp. if they do allow ‘loose leaf’ use for the palliative care & chronic pain too.

          Big pharma is NOT the answer.. we need to look at the maori ‘Rongoa’ context; medicinal plants, not just ‘jagged little pills & extracts’

          btw; Natl originally said they would work WITH the Govt. but withdrew that at Committee stage & declared ‘Our way (big pharm) or the highway’.. thinking they still ‘have the govt. benches’ (in denial ?)

      • btw: I mentioned using a ‘med-user card’ in my submission.. as they have in many USA states. Looks like a photo driver license, with start & finish dates for use etc. OR unlimited/palliative. Upon presentation.. the cops just say “thx & you can move on pls’ 🙂

      • Duker

         /  10th December 2018

        Isnt Horizon the ‘online polling ‘ company not a randomly selected phone number. ! Dont they send emails out to those who are part of their citizen panels telling them to login and do the survey on a particular topic.
        Like this one from 2012 in my Inbox
        “HorizonPoll: your right to die and other issues”
        or this hedaline
        HorizonPoll – several important issues for you
        Here’s a very important survey – and one we think you’ll enjoy completing.
        It covers a range of issues on which we’d like to know your views and experiences.

        Hardly a random poll if they use this method to drum up people for a poll as it will be weighted for those wanting to put their oar in.

        The evidence is that smoking alone – even of dried lettuce leaves- can cause harm. Medical cannabis will be exactly that, a refined, purified and standardised dose form. There is hardly any evidence of high quality that MOH will accept usage for run of the mill ailments. Even some common medicines cant be prescribed by GPs without a specilist approval- I know I had to wait some time for an everyday condition- and it was awesome with no side effects like the previous limited results one. So expecting every GP should

        • I spoke with the polling companies Managers, it is weighted, the accuracy of 2.1% margin of error. In its weighting, the survey was over represented slightly in a few demographics which was adjusted for, and the wider uptake compared to any other poll to date on this issue means I have full confidence in its results.

          • Duker

             /  10th December 2018

            Its still not a random sample which then can claim represent all NZ . Itsjust one step up from those TV/newspaper online polls they run ( to make money via texting). Its the cheap way to run things.
            Not comparable at all with a random number poll which the participants are selected randomly not the other way that Horizon does. You have already mistaken the numbers participating ( over 2000) as a sign of improved quality over the normal numbers ( 700-800) for a random poll. You simply cant compare them like that anyway if you knew anything about stats ( it doesnt change accuracy much having 3x participants) , but thats your purpose to push for a particular result, well you have your ‘survey’ to back it but not a real poll.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  10th December 2018

    From the look of it, Horizon Poll people were in favour (I put ‘strongly agree on nearly everything)

  1. Poll suggests more progressive cannabis law reform wanted — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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