Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


New Study Shows Lack Of Majority Support For Cannabis Law Change

Middle-aged New Zealanders are more likely to be opposed to the legalisation of cannabis than in favour of it, a new study from the University of Otago, Christchurch shows.

Almost half of them opposed the legalisation of cannabis compared with almost 30% of people who supported a law change, when asked about it during interviews with University of Otago, Christchurch researchers. In September, New Zealanders will vote on whether to legalise cannabis, which would mean it was widely available for sale.

Researchers also gauged the level of support among its middle-aged participants for decriminalisation – where the drug is not sold legally or widely available but those caught with it would not be prosecuted. Almost half of participants supported the decriminalisation of cannabis. The issue of decriminalisation will not be voted on in September.

While there was not an overwhelming majority of people on either side of the debate for either legalisation or decriminalisation, participants overwhelming supported the medicinal use of cannabis. More than 80% of participants felt doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis products for medicinal purposes.

The study is published in this week’s New Zealand Medical Journal.

Researchers from the University’s Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) interviewed almost 900 people on their attitudes on cannabis harm, legalisation or decriminalisation, and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The participants in the study were all 40-years-old at the time of interviews. CHDS researchers have followed a group of more than 1000 Cantabrians since their birth in 1977 and have data on most aspects of their lives, including drug use.

The study found:

  • More participants said they were against the legalisation of cannabis than in favour of it. (49.8% against versus 26.8% for). The remaining participants said they were ‘neutral’.
  • A vast majority (90%) felt it should remain illegal for those aged under 18 years to use cannabis.
  • The groups most likely to be opposed to the legalisation of cannabis were women and those with dependants. The groups more likely to be in favour of legalisation were those with prior use of cannabis and other drugs, a history of depression, Maori ancestry, parental drug use and higher educational attainment.
  • More than 70% of participants believed it should remain illegal for private individuals to sell cannabis, and more than half (54.4%) believed cannabis use is harmful.
  • Researchers also asked participants about the decriminalisation of cannabis. Almost half of participants support decriminalization (47.8%) – where the drug is not sold legally or widely available but those caught with it would not be prosecuted. Almost a third of participants were opposed to decriminalization (27.2%), and the remainder were ‘neutral’.
  • More than 80% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis and a similar percentage of people believed cannabis products were an effective form of relief from chronic pain or physical health problems.

Christchurch Health and Development Study director Professor Joe Boden says the study is an ideal way to gauge attitudes towards cannabis in New Zealand and help predict the outcome of September’s 2020 Cannabis Referendum. It suggests that middle aged, and older New Zealanders, who are more reliable voters, may be more inclined to be opposed to legalizing cannabis, he says.

Professor Boden says the study showed no clear wish for law change in this section of the community, with less than half of participants in favour of either legalisation or decriminalisation.

“We have extensive knowledge about this group’s cannabis use and, as a group, they have reported relatively high levels of cannabis use. But these results show their attitude to cannabis and cannabis legalisation can best be described as ‘conservative’.”

This may be due to the fact that many of the 40-year-olds in this study have dependent children at home, which is often predictive of a negative attitude toward cannabis and cannabis law change.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, lest he be carried away in the slavering jaws of Jack Tame…. but this was mere incompetence, not malice. At the same time the President of the United States was (a) falsely accusing one of his media critics of murder, and (b) threatening to shut down Twitter for attaching a warning label to Trump’s attempt at poisoning the electoral process by falsely claiming that postal voting has led to extensive voter fraud... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes

The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>


Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels