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Why Australia should NOT hold a cannabis referendum

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New Zealand, one of the most progressive countries in the world, voted a majority “No” in a recent referendum proposing the legalisation of recreational cannabis. Here’s why it didn’t work and why Australia should not follow suite.

Referendums, whether binding or not, generally come into play on a contentious subject where the true opinion of all citizens should be known before any decisions by government is made. And the legalisation of recreational cannabis is still quite a contentious subject – in Australia at least.

Despite the majority of Australians polling that they support legalisation in the most recent National Drug Household Survey, when the time comes, many opinions may be swayed by campaigning from the “No” side. Which is the exact thing that happened in New Zealand’s most recent cannabis referendum.

In January 2019, results from HorizonPoll indicated 60% of New Zealander’s support legalising cannabis for personal use. Five months later, support dropped to 52%. From that time onwards, polls were flip-flopping either way, with the end result showing that the referendum was going to be too close to call based on polls.

Support for cannabis legalisation in New Zealand
Support for cannabis legalisation in New Zealand

So what happened? What swayed the New Zealand public to vote a majority “No”? Campaigning did.

The ‘Say Nope To Dope’ campaign, with their catchy name and backed by international organisations, voiced their opinions to a far larger and wider audience. That, and their use of fear mongering and statistic manipulation were enough to drive the outdated belief that ‘cannabis is a dangerous drug’ back into the minds of thousands of voters. And with less than 100,000 votes separating the “No” from “Yes” – it was more than enough to win the referendum for them.

Various governments and organisations have stained the past century with cannabis misinformation and fear mongering. And a century’s worth of belief is difficult to change, and even easier to reinforce with a bit of campaigning. Especially in those who’ve believed in it all their lives.

And that is why Australia should not hold a cannabis referendum.

Outdated beliefs still exist around the country, despite new evidence, research, and studies all showing that cannabis prohibition has completely failed and the war on drugs is a useless endeavour. All it would take is injecting a bit of fear into voters and many would turn against it despite their new learnings.

Instead, state governments should take new changes into account and act on them – even if the majority are against it.

No one wanted seat belts in the beginning, yet the government mandated them anyway – because evidence showed they would benefit the economy and save lives.

People want cannabis legalised. And Australians are consuming it at record levels despite it being in prohibition. So why keep it illegal?

Legalise it. Tax it. Create an industry of it supporting thousands of jobs.

Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

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1 Comment

  1. I didn’t in Australia the laws should be similar to what they used to be in Hollands where you used to be able to purchase marijuana cannabis and smoke it in cafes or at your personal home. You couldn’t be searched for marijuana as long as it the you were smoking it with inside of your personal premise. That’s the time recreational use people are afraid that it will come out into the public arena and that for one I don’t think there are a lot of Australians that are comfortable with the smell of marijuana or the units smoking is you know confined the certain areas recreational use terminology of the legislation needs to be refined to a very very certain particular set of language that enables people to understand it is not an overall blanket alcohol style reform that this is simply a introduction enabling individuals have their independence and choice of not having to go down a criminal Prof for something that they enjoy from their own home or in the with friends at a friend’s home and so on. The current climate for cannabis use is looking good because of youth today who don’t drink as much as the use of the past and are highly informed with all substances that they are putting into their body. With the tools to come to a referendum in regards to deciding where and how certain States will take on a bill to then creates laws with inside of each date to enable either growing or for personal use to be allowed and for the sale of cannabis flowers to be undertaken with certain permit said the vendors we need to be assured that the language is not aggressive to those who may oppose the Lord that it is clear that it is not going to be something that’s going to be seen just yet. The traditional Australian individual is still an extremely conservative individual who will take offence to these changes and it is up to the people who are creating this referendum to clearly state the language and how this is going to be seen or not seen with inside of the general public full stop individuals found to be smoking marijuana by the police authorities in a in a public space will be us to put out the marijuana the joint and you know continue on and may possibly have what they are carrying on them confiscated similar to that as dry areas of New Years Eve parties this language and needs to be very well written very clear because yes we do still have a lot of conservative individuals to deal with it there is a lot of support for this movement to go forward know them language needs to be done correctly. New Zealand being one of the most progressive countries in the world you still have a lot of Christians in that country that are not going to see how that is going to benefit their country. It is also very important to get the indigenous vote on this subject. How we is a country can then generate work for the indigenous people within their land to be able to assist them with get creating work and getting votes for them and from them I think this is an important step to making sure that we get this across the line there’s my symbol point of you that’s the way that I see it

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Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

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