A UMR poll commissioned by cannabis lobby group Start The Conversation shows strong public support for medical cannabis, in line with other polls.
“Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that patients have safe legal access to affordable medicinal cannabis and cannabis products when prescribed by a licensed doctor?”
- Supported 76%
- Opposed 12%
- Undecided 12%
Only 15% of National voters were opposed.
“Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that natural cannabis and medicinal cannabis products are treated as herbal remedies when used therapeutically?”
- Supported 61%
- Opposed 24%
- Undecided 15%
The poll was conducted by UMR for Start the Conversation from 29th July to 17th August 2016.
The poll will be used by the group, which includes representatives of NORML, to decide whether to proceed with organising a cannabis law reform referendum to coincide with next year’s general election.
URM’s previous cannabis poll in March 2016 reported that 72% of respondents agreed with “the use of marijuana being allowed for medical purposes”.
Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ Inc:
“John Key thinks cannabis law reform sends the wrong message, yet NORML’s message is getting through. Most New Zealanders now know cannabis is not only safer than alcohol but is also an effective remedy for a variety of conditions, and they want the law to change.”
“The message John Key needs to hear is that very few people support the status quo, including National Party voters, and he ignores them at his own peril,” said Mr Fowlie.
- Start The Conversation is a group representing cannabis and community activists, researchers and policy analysts throughout New Zealand, including NORML, Helen Kelly, Prof Max Abbott, Dr Geoff Noller, The Cannabis Party, Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ, It’s Medicine (Rose Renton), MildGreens and more. Start The Conversation organised a cannabis debate at the Auckland Town Hall in June, which led to this poll, and is holding its next community forum in Whangarei on Saturday 17th September.
- Chris Fowlie is NORML’s spokesperson and a candidate for the Waitakere Licensing Trust in this year’s local body elections. He is running on a ticket of “Regulate Cannabis Like Alcohol”, and says under the current law the Trust could run Cannabis Social Clubs for medicinal and/or research purposes. As with West Auckland liquor sales, any profits would be returned to the community.
- The UMR poll is available here: Changing Marijuana laws Jul-16.pptx
The poll was commissioned by Start the Conversation, a medicinal cannabis lobby group. The group includes Helen Kelly, a former CTU president who has been campaigning for medicinal cannabis after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Kelly said the campaign group would use the poll to decide whether to try and force a Citizens Initiated Referendum on the issue during the election in 2017.
“Politicians now have the choice. Force those who are mainly unwell to collect signatures simply so the public will be believed or act quickly and with mercy and fix this mess up so people like me and many others have safe and legal guaranteed access.”
Dr Geoff Noller, an independent cannabis policy researcher who is part of Start the Conversation, said the poll showed there was little political risk involved in making a change because New Zealanders were ready for reform.