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Cannabis referendum will pass, gap narrows

9 May 19

Cannabis referendum will pass, gap narrows
Herald poll coverage: Yes vote 15% ahead of No vote

Horizon polling shows the Government's 2020 referendum on the personal use of recreational cannabis would pass - but the result might be closer than was indicated six months earlier.

The new independent survey of over 1,100 New Zealanders, commissioned by Helius Therapeutics, comes as the Government confirms its commitment to hold a binding referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at next year’s General Election. Cabinet has also agreed there will be a simple Yes/No question, on the basis of a draft piece of legislation.

Horizon Research has been commissioned again by New Zealand's largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, to survey people on their voting intentions ahead of next year’s referendum.

Of those surveyed

  • 52% of adult New Zealanders said they would most likely vote to support legalising the personal use of cannabis
  • 37%  would most likely vote against, while
  • 11% had no opinion.

Six months earlier, in October, Horizon Research asked the same question, with 60% then saying yes, 24% against, and 16% having no opinion.

Paul Manning, Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics, is not surprised the likely referendum result appears to be getting tighter.

In a statement he says when the first survey was conducted last year, cannabis and its many health benefits were getting a lot of positive air time as Parliament was the debating the medicinal cannabis bill with the broad issue achieving strong support across all political parties.

“Without doubt, the commentary around cannabis has shifted in recent months.

We’re now seeing some concerted scaremongering by conservative groups and others about cannabis being legalised for personal use, complete with at least one questionable poll suggesting hardly anyone wanted it,” says Mr Manning (pictured).

“Now eighteen months from the referendum we’ve got a comprehensive survey that shows those who support personal use are 15% ahead of those who don’t, while still plenty of Kiwis have no opinion.

“These polls will undoubtedly keep moving around. However, what we do know, after commissioning two large surveys on the topic, is that a majority of Kiwis continue to support legalising the personal use of cannabis. There may have been a lot of political noise in recent days, but that statistical fact hasn’t changed in six months,” says Mr Manning.

Key poll results include:

Referendum vote for legalisation of cannabis for personal use

  • 52% say yes
  • 37% say no
  • 11% have no opinion

Most supporters of most parties now in parliament would vote yes

  • ACT: 53% yes/ 28% no
  • Green: 83% / 13%
  • Labour: 63% / 23%
  • National: 32% / 60%
  • NZ First: 53% / 40%

Clear majority in all age groups up to 55 years would vote yes

  • 18 – 24 years: 68% agree
  • 25 – 34 years: 68% agree
  • 33 – 44 years: 55% agree
  • 45 – 54 years: 53% agree
  • 55 – 64 years: 38% agree
  • 65 – 74 years: 30% agree
  • 75yrs or over: 25% agree

You are welcome to comment on these results on our Facebook page.

A NewstalkZB interview with Paul Manning on this survey is available here.

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