Cannabis NO Campaign Announces Spokesperson

By June 3, 2020 Media Release

Media Release 3 June 2020
Aaron Ironside is the new spokesperson for the Say Nope To Dope campaign.

Aaron Ironside rose to prominence in the 1990’s as the anchor of Radio Hauraki’s popular Morning Pirates breakfast show. The young rock DJ fully embraced the Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll lifestyle that accompanied his new-found fame. Aaron quickly turned his occasional marijuana use into a daily habit that consumed his life. In time, he realised that his drug addiction was now affecting his mental health, exacerbating his symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In 1998, Aaron quit the high-profile job and decided to deal with his drug problem. Once clean he began working in the Not-For-Profit sector, putting his Masters Degree in Psychology to work. In 2012 he started A.I. Counselling and Coaching helping hundreds of clients find freedom from many different types of addiction and substance abuse.

Aside from his personal experience with cannabis, Aaron has witnessed the devastation the drug causes to vulnerable families during his work with a community group in Manurewa. The systemic damage that addiction creates was clearly seen in the poverty, crime and mental health outcomes for the Maori and Pasifika families who engaged with the organisation.

Although himself drug-free for over 20 years, some extended family members continue to struggle with the grip Cannabis has over their lives. Aaron is passionate about protecting them from further harm, and helping New Zealand pursue programs and legislation that will benefit all sectors of society.

The Say Nope to Dope campaign is a group of concerned organisations and individuals who oppose any attempt to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. The group will be officially launched in the coming weeks.


  • Patrick Payne says:

    Cool keep me informed.

  • kyle says:

    You abused the medicinal qualities of the plant and have yourself to blame and not cannabis. Ypu were equivalent to an alcoholic on cannabis. You were the problem.

  • Lillith says:

    So how does criminalising addicts help?
    How do our current laws protect the vunerable, or limit access to youth?
    Do you truely believe that having criminal organisations controlling cannabis is the safest option?
    The methods we have been using haven’t worked. Prohibition is an utter failure, maximises all harms and make cannabis easily available to anyone.
    Shame on you for supporting gangs and supporting prison for addicts.
    This position embodies the definition of
    Insanity ( doing the same thing over and over)
    We have a chance to minimize harms and protect our communities while undermining organised crime. I’m unsure why you’d think gangs do a better job at controlling cannabis. Mind boggling

  • Jed Williams says:

    So… Not only do you support a law based on racism, corruption and corporate greed, but you endorse an idealogy that has proved to be unworkable. We have people like you to thank for continent sized flotillas of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills , toxic unbreathable air and worldwide devastation of forests and waterways. Should we be grateful for the fact that prohibition causes more harm than the herb itself? The war on drugs has caused misery, poverty and destruction, and the herb is winning. Accept it.

  • Ali says:

    Don’t you love the self righteousness of a reformed sustance abuser thinking everyone is like them when in reality addicts are a minority of the users.
    Prohibiting doesn’t work…..

  • Jon says:

    So you couldn’t contain your own urges and feel you became addicted to a substance that science says is non-physically addictive, and also has a safety profile greater than Paracetamol, and feel because of your own weakness we should all suffer and be criminalised?

    You are the epitome of an ignoramus and i look forward to destroying you and your campaign by using my 20 plus years of first hand experience and the myriad of peer reviewed scientific papers i have at the ready.

    Challenge accepted

  • Nick says:

    That’s such a good article for a yes vote. Treat it as a health issue and get the people who struggle with drugs the help they need. Also while we’re at it stop persecuting Maori and pasifica people which will keep them out of the court system that it being illegal keeps you in.

  • John patrick says:

    as a former alcohol and drug addiction counsellor, who has spent the last 20 years educating gps and others to the benefit of cannabis.
    i was also charged with supplying hundreds of sick adults and children with cannabis balm and discharged without conviction.
    we all have an endogonous cannabinoid system.
    we don’t have an endogonous alcohol system.
    alcohol is the harmful drug in our society.
    some folk have issues with sugar, do we ban that?
    and just in case your faith based.
    what do you think the holy anointing oil was.
    educate yourself and find a worthwhile cause that actually matters to us all.

  • Jason says:

    I all for a law change prohibition does not work. Cannabis is here a lot of people use it. Making people criminals is not the right way. #voteyes2020nz.

  • kerri says:

    Vote yes on the cannabis referendum 2020…only dopes say no

  • Flp says:

    Vote yes and let’s change the country for the better! It has got to happen.

  • Paul says:

    Its says in the bible i god give fourth all plants and herbs that bare fruit and seed for the use of man kind. I say aaron was a week minded individual and needs to look at himself not the weed. Most can handle it sum cant . Ilike anything in life if you cant handle it then leave it alone and as for mental healtj i blame the govt. They stopped parents from parenting the only true way that works,disapline.a good hiding never did me wrong it only helped me in life, as you soon learn whats good and whats not.hell if i hadnt been raised the way i was with a kick up the ass every day i would be ignorant, arrogant,rude and full of mental health problems like the generation of the 90s as they were raised so wrong thanks to people that think they know living their fake as shit lives.

  • Mike Smith says:

    He’s a bullshiting hypocrite, it’s not marijuana it’s you, I’ve smoke weed for well over 35 years, I gold down a good job, I’ve still got my faculties, so don’t say weed fucked your life up, you fucked it up yourself, so don’t blame the fucken weed.

  • Zac says:

    Speaking as a former heavy user currently dealing with the mental health consequences of my abuse I can firmly say this is a a ridiculous way to look at cannibis, the abuse of any substance if up to the user. The same way there is an opiate addiction in people that was started from legally perscribed drugs from doctors, those individuals choose to abuse these drugs against medical advice most of the time and in turn dug there own holes. In no way am I say cannibis will work for everyone, but to some people I can confidently say it impacts there life for the better and in order for harm to be redused in the way of drug abuse we need to open up as a country and accept we need to stop wasting taxpayers money on prostitution of every day folk struggling with illness that cannibis can benefit who can’t afford legal treatments at there current prices this means these individuals choose to incriminate themselfs unfairly by cultivating or involving themselfs in a criminal activity such as buying from a dealer where there is no offical backed testing on the strain of the crop they are using in regards to THC and CBD percentages or if was safely grown without the use of harmful pesticides that have not been flushed out of the plant or scum who spray there product with other nasty chemicals to increase weight and therefore there own sick profit from this current illegal drug others refer to as medicine. legislation,regulation and education to the youth is what is needed to make a real change not closed minded one sided voices like aron iorside trying to to spead his own negative opinions of this substance. and the end of the day the abuse is up to the user and that’s a fact people need to wake up to the reality.

  • Tusilima L Rihati says:

    Unfortunately, your story reflects “lack of
    informed education”.
    When cannabis is abused ‘it’, is labelled the problem, not the user. Like alcohol, cannabis is not for ‘all’, much the same as prescribed meds, not all type 2 diabetics take the same meds as each body type receives meds differently/adversely.
    Education is definitely the key for safe ingestion.
    I’m sorry you had a bad experience with cannabis. I’ve used cannabis for pain in the past after my shoulder arthroplasty and I still need it for my anxiety, and depression, it works a real treat. I cannot afford to pay black market profiteers I just want the ability to grow my own meds.

  • Andrew says:

    Fuck this guy is the biggest clown hahaha #VoteYes2020

  • Steve says:

    I’m voting nope to dope to annoy people from r/newzealand.

  • Harry says:

    For fucks sake mate. Handle your shit!

  • william henry meung says:

    this guy is going to be popular with ignorant ill-informed people, if he succeeds the problems remain and progress in health and tackling social issues such as addiction will stall. I’m sure his heart is in the right place but this is not an intelligent way forward.

  • Dave Branton says:

    I wonder what his position is? He says Cannabis destroyed his life, or nearly did. So is he on the side of the status quo, or would he see stronger laws and more police effort funnelled into futile prohibition?

  • David Palmar says:

    So you support the gangs controlling access and profiting from cannabis rather than the formation of a regulated market?

    Can you not appreciate how ridiculous (and hypocritical) your logic is.

  • i hate mike says:

    shut up mike you’re ruining it for us!

  • i hate i hate mike says:

    Are you being serious?

  • J says:

    If he had gone to jail for his use then his like would have been ruined all this proves is that we need law changes!

  • Jeff says:

    Aaron Ironside’s story is THE VERY REASON WE NEED TO DECRIMINALIZE POT. Resources are better spent on education, treatment (in Aarons case would have potentially helped him) and regulation. A aron!

  • BeardyMan says:

    Research Professor Richie Poulton today destroyed every talking point Family First have used in their propaganda campaign so far! Read his report and you will see his conclusions based on research, science and real world data are so much more significant for voters deciding YES, than your propaganda based on cherry picking data & examples due to believing in some imaginary beardy guy in the clouds LOL… How about some ownership of your repeated failures Bob? You haven’t succeeded in a campaign yet despite the $700k of “donations” from lobbyists… No surprise when one of the campaigns is to allow domestic violence towards children, but ALL of your campaigns have failed! Time to stop lying to yourself and the public.

  • Welly says:

    If we vote no, then you should go do your time with all the non-white addicts that have been locked up over it.

  • Leigh says:

    If the main concern around cannabis is re mental health. The isnt is better to deal with problem cannabis users through mental health programs rather than through the justice system?

  • Michael McCrohon says:

    Say no to child molesters… oh wait it’s decades to late for that!

    Anyone that get their advice from people that worship an invisible man in the sky needs therapy!

    Humans have use recreational drug since the beginning of time. Prohibition is a patent failure. Time to spend the resources of education!
    Look at Amsterdam fewer citizens use cannabis than other European cities because once it is allowed the “forbidden fruit” attraction disappears overnight!

    Leave this religious fundamentalist to worry about his flock and stay out of normal peoples lives!

  • Kevin Hester says:

    Full credit to the people commenting on the article, making far more sense than the prohibitionist.
    Our species has been on this planet about 300,000 yrs. For 299,900 of those years our species used this plant for a multitude of reasons.
    Then morons like Aaron Ironside had it banned.
    Cui bono, who benefits from the prohibition? Big pharma, Tobacco and Alcohol lobbies, they all saw the herb as a competitor.

  • Matthew says:

    This referendum is not about whether Cannabis is harmful or harmless. It is about which legal model is best suited to regulating its distribution, taking advantage of its many benefits, and helping reduce any negative effects.
    Prohibition has tried and failed miserably, it is time legalisation had its turn.

  • Robyn says:

    Thank you Aaron for giving a voice for the ‘No’ vote.
    As a non-smoking voter with teenaged children I’ve been looking for information from both sides of the debate.
    Your story, and those of others on the site, is appreciated and will help me make an informed decision on election day.

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