The fight for legalising cannabis in New Zealand is officially firing up after a new poll found the majority of Kiwi’s support legalising cannabis in the upcoming referendum.
Excitingly, New Zealanders are set to hit the polls on September 19th this year, answering this question in a non-binding referendum:
Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?
While support for cannabis has grown over the past year, it appears the race is still neck-and-neck. One study, conducted by Horizon Research, asked over 1590 Kiwi’s whether they intended to vote ‘yes’ in the upcoming cannabis referendum. The study found that over 56% of participants intend to vote yes – up from 54% in a similar poll in February.
Interestingly, votes on the day may heavily depend on what political party you predominantly vote for. Like Australia, New Zealand’s two predominant parties are Labour and National, with NZ First, the Green Party and ACT all holding seats in parliament.
While over 81% of Green voters and 72% of Labour voters want cannabis legalised, just 31% of National voters agree. Originally, National voters were supported by NZ First and ACT voters, but it appears that National’s anti-cannabis comrades may have abandoned them. Now, over 53% of NZ First voters and 70% of ACT voters support cannabis legalisation.
This shows us every political party in New Zealand wants to legalise cannabis, except for the Nationals.
Clearly, support for cannabis in New Zealand is growing – but will it be enough? Kiwi’s voting intentions also seem to change depending on their age and gender. Women are 7% more likely to vote yes than men, and young people are more likely to vote yes than their parents.
Currently, cannabis’s biggest fan club appears to be Kiwi’s aged 25 – 34, over 72% of whom intend to vote yes. However, young people may not win this one, as nearly 30% of New Zealand’s population are 60 or older – nearly 61% of whom aren’t kush fans.
While Kiwi’s could be legally getting high by the end of the year, this referendum really could go either way. Speaking about the research, Helius Therapeutics Chief Executive Paul Manning agreed, saying:
This result will energise both the yes and the no camps. It shows just how close this vote will be.
If the referendum returns a majority ‘yes’ vote, the Cannabis Legalisation and Control bill will be introduced into New Zealand parliament. The bill, available here, will allow people over the age of 20 to buy up to 14 grams of weed per day and consume it on either private property or a licensed premises.
You can see all the details of the upcoming referendum in this post.