Bill Harrison

New Zealand Poll: 76 Percent Support Medical Marijuana Access

According to a UMR Research poll, 76 percent of New Zealanders support legal access to medical marijuana, compared to 12 percent opposed and 12 percent undecided, according to a Stuff report. The figure represents a 4 percent increase in support compared to a UMR survey from January.

“It’s quite remarkable that only 12 percent were opposed – this may be the lowest level of opposition ever found in a cannabis poll in New Zealand,” Max Abbot, a psychology and public health professor at the University of Auckland said in the report.

The survey included a second question about whether natural cannabis products and therapies should be considered herbal remedies when used medically — which was supported by 61 percent of respondents, with 24 percent opposed and 15 percent undecided.

Helen Kelly, a former Council of Trade Unions president who stepped down from the post following a cancer diagnosis, said that lawmakers should act now on a medical marijuana program rather than wait for a future referendum.

“Politicians now have the choice — force those who are mainly unwell to collect signatures simply so the public will be believed, or act quickly and with mercy and fix this mess up so people like me, and many others, have safe and legal guaranteed access,” she said.

A poll earlier this month by NZ Drug Foundation found more than 80 percent supported access to medical marijuana, with 64 percent of respondents favoring legalization of cannabis for recreational use.       

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