Another poll supports medical cannabis

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%

NZ Doctor: New UMR poll shows overwhelming support for medical cannabis law change, says NORML

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.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

  • 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

NZ Herald: Another poll shows strong support for medicinal cannabis reform

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.

NORML likes Peter Dunne’s new thinking

It might seem abnormal but NORML is agreeing with Peter Dunne and his latest thinking on addressing drug issues.

Marijuana law reform lobby agrees with Former Associate Minister of Health’s call for evidence-based approach to regulating drugs

Peter Dunne, the “architect” of Psychoactive Substances Act, is now calling for the same regulatory approach to be applied to drugs currently scheduled in the Misuse of Drugs Act.

“People may be surprised to hear NORML agreeing with the former Minister of Health, who blocked cannabis law reform under the former Labour Government,” said Chris Fowlie, president of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ Inc), “but he’s right that the evidence-based approach of the Psychoactive Substances Act should be applied to drugs currently scheduled in the Misuse of Drugs Act.”

“New Zealand’s approach to regulating Psychoactive Substances has rightly attracted admiration around the world. It is evidence-based and puts health and safety first. However it’s obvious there is only a market for synthetic substitutes because cannabis is illegal, and it’s not rational to allow synthetics to be sold while maintaining the world’s highest arrest rate for natural cannabis, which is the safer choice.

“NORML has long campaigned for a regulated taxable system for controlling cannabis and other low-risk drugs. More politicians should try Peter Dunne’s new way of thinking!”

Dunne’s key comments:

Most experts now concede the so-called “war” on drugs has failed, and new initiatives are required.

The Psychoactive Substances Ac… provides for the first time for a regulated market for the sale and supply of psychoactive substances, based on the level of risk they pose to the user.

Although the Psychoactive Substances Act was intended to deal with that issue only, and not to have wider application, it does occur to me that, if after a period of time, it is shown to be working effectively, it could well become the model by which narcotic drugs, currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, are regulated for the future.

The yardstick of level of risk – based on sound pharmacological and toxicological evidence – would become the determinant of availability, not public sentiment or prejudice.

I am not suggesting a revolution, but simply observing that the regulatory regime introduced for psychoactive substances could well have wider application and that we should not be averse to that possibility.

Dunne’s blog statement: http://honpfd.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/31-october-2013-sure-sign-of-looming.html