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A Narrow Majority Support Cannabis Legalisation - But Turnout Will Be Crucial

A new poll released by the Helen Clark Foundation and the New Zealand Drug Foundation shows that cannabis legalisation would pass if the referendum were held today. The results, from UMR, show 48% in favour and 43% opposed, up from 46% support in a previous survey in February. When those who responded unsure were asked which way they were leaning, a further 3% leaned in favour.

“These results suggest New Zealanders are likely to support a sensible approach to cannabis harm reduction now that they have accurate information about what is being proposed,” said Kathy Errington, Executive Director of the Helen Clark Foundation.

“As part of the campaign to place accurate information in front of New Zealanders, former Prime Minister Helen Clark will be appearing alongside Dr Hinemoa Elder and UK drug policy expert Steve Rolles in a virtual seminar at 11am today.

“The recent release of the Drug Foundation’s 'on our terms' campaign appears to be making an impact by providing the public with more information about the proposed legislation.”

The proposed legislation includes an age limit of 20, redistribution of tax into harm reduction, health and education programmes, a ban on all marketing and advertising of cannabis products, strict controls on the potency of cannabis, and other restrictions.

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“When people learn about the bill, they are more likely to support a law change,” said Ross Bell, Executive Director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

“Legalising, regulating, and taxing cannabis use makes sense to a lot of people. They know that the status quo isn't working.”

“Over the last three months we have been approached by many New Zealanders saying this issue is worthy of their attention and they want more information,”

“Not everyone knows the basics. This issue is relevant to every New Zealander and they want to talk and have their say on this. The recently released PM Chief Science Advisors report clearly shows that a yes vote is backed up by the evidence.” said Bell.

“We have an opportunity to vote on a solution that is focused on positive public health outcomes and harm minimisation, so let's do it right.” said Bell.

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