A new poll released by the Helen Clark Foundation shows that cannabis legalisation or decriminalisation is favoured by a majority of supporters of the Labour, National, Green, and Act Parties. (Figures for other parties were too small to report accurately.)

The poll asked:


How did you vote in the recent referendum on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?


[Asked to those who voted no] Regardless of how you voted, which best describes what changes you would like to see to cannabis laws in New Zealand?

Results were weighted to 2018 census data for age, gender, region and ethnicity. They were also weighted to reflect the 2020 referendum results accurately out of the total adult population. The full report from UMR is attached.


Key points


• Support for decriminalisation or legalisation was larger than the status quo or tougher sanctions across different party supporters.
• ACT party supporters: 51% supported legalisation or decriminalisation, 49% said the law should stay the same or be tougher.
• National party supporters: 52% supported legalisation or decriminalisation, 47% said the law should stay the same or be tougher.
• Labour party supporters: 81% supported legalisation or decriminalisation, 18% said the law should stay the same or be tougher.
• Green party supporters: 93% supported legalisation or decriminalisation, 7% said the law should stay the same or be tougher.


Overall, this makes a total of 69% who either supported the bill or would support decriminalisation.


Helen Clark Foundation Executive Director Kathy Errington said:

“These results suggest New Zealanders do not want us to fall behind the rest of the world on drug policies. The adult use of cannabis is already legal for one-third of the population of the United States, and 36 states have medical markets in place.

The broad mandate for change revealed by this poll suggests that the Government has nothing to lose politically from lifting the burden of criminalisation – especially from the shoulders of young people and Māori, both of whom continue to make up a disproportionate amount of those being dragged through the courts on drug charges.”

Read the report here.

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