Nick Kean

New Zealand Poll: 64 Percent Support for Cannabis Legalization, Decriminalization

A recent NZ Drug Foundation poll has found that 64 percent of New Zealanders are in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, according to a Stuff report. More than 80 percent indicated they favor access to medical marijuana for terminal pain relief.

In the poll, 33 percent of respondents said cannabis should be legal for personal use, with 31 percent indicating they approve decriminalization. However, 34 percent said the drug should remain illegal.

“This tells us voters are ready for change even if law makers aren’t,” Ross Bell, NZ Drug Foundation executive director, said in the report.

The only party supporting a cannabis legalization referendum in the nation is NZ First. Members of the Labour Party say that decriminalization isn’t a priority, and the Green Party prefers a bill to legalize cannabis rather than putting it to the public for a vote.      

Prime Minister John Key, member of the New Zealand National Party, said he “was not a massive fan” of legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis.

“As a Parliament, if we were to decriminalize then one of the messages we’d be sending is that ‘you’d increase drug use, drug use is ok,’” he said in an interview with RNZ.

He admitted that the current laws “do not work perfectly” but noted that police don’t often prosecute individuals for possessing small amounts of cannabis.     

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