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Media Release

Diverse Group of Top Researchers and Scientists Send Joe Biden Letter Commending Pro-Science Stance on Marijuana Policy

Media Release SAM-US 15 July 2020
Our additional comment: “..the researchers point out that the marijuana industry, which profits off the promotion and sale of high potency candies, concentrates, and vapes, has taken advantage of vulnerable communities, using Denver as an example — which has an average of one marijuana storefront for every 43 residents of color in minority neighborhoods. On this, the researchers conclude that “communities historically impacted by biased policing through marijuana enforcement must be built up through targeted criminal justice reform, not billionaire-backed pot shops.”

Today, a broad, diverse group of renowned scientists, led by the first Black United States Magistrate Judge and researchers from Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School, sent a letter to former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, commending him for his unwavering commitment to a well-reasoned approach to marijuana policy.

The researchers, members of the Science Advisory Board for Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) — the largest, national, non-partisan policy group dedicated to offering science-based alternatives to marijuana commercialization — have vast experience in the fields of science, medicine, and addiction that drive them to promote science in the discussion on marijuana policy.

“Science, not politics, must guide our drug policy decisions,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM and a former three-time White House drug policy advisor. “Marijuana commercialization would only financially benefit a handful of wealthy investors and saddle disadvantaged communities in our country with further addiction.”

The letter, sent just days after the Biden-Sanders Taskforce did not put marijuana legalization into the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign platform, outlines the preponderance of data supporting Vice President Biden’s contention that marijuana is a harmful substance.

Furthermore, the researchers point out that the marijuana industry, which profits off the promotion and sale of high potency candies, concentrates, and vapes, has taken advantage of vulnerable communities, using Denver as an example — which has an average of one marijuana storefront for every 43 residents of color in minority neighborhoods. On this, the researchers conclude that “communities historically impacted by biased policing through marijuana enforcement must be built up through targeted criminal justice reform, not billionaire-backed pot shops.”

In closing, the researchers stated that they “applaud and appreciate your science-based approach that is equally cognizant of legitimate concerns regarding social justice and marijuana-policing. We hope you will continue to uphold these important standards and thank you for your steadfast commitment to public health.”

The letter is signed by the following individuals:

Judge Arthur L. Burnett, Sr.
First Black United States Magistrate Judge
Executive Director, National African American Drug Policy Coalition

Hoover Adger, Jr, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Adolescent Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Eden Evins, M.D., M.P.H.
Cox Family Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Founding Director, Mass General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine

Sion Kim Harris, Ph.D., C.P.H.
Co-Director, Center for Adolescent Behavioral Health Research
Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Jodi Gilman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Christian Thurstone, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Denver

Kimber P. Richter, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Director, UKanQuit
KUMed Hospital Tobacco Treatment Service

Aaron Weiner, Ph.D.
ABPP Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Yifrah Kaminer, M.D., M.B.A.
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Center

Marilyn A. Huestis, Ph.D.
Institute for Emerging Health Professions
Thomas Jefferson University

Christine Miller, Ph.D.
Former Research Associate
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

 

Government Slammed For Manipulating Voters in Voting Packs

Media Release 13 July 2020
The Say Nope To Dope campaign is slamming the government for its voting pack on the cannabis referendum, and is seeking legal advice.

“We’ve been contacted by a number of families who believe that the government pamphlet is putting their own spin on the proposed change to our cannabis laws through propaganda,” says Aaron Ironside, spokesperson for the Say Nope To Dope campaign.

“The government tries to argue in the pamphlet that “The bill’s purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities” – but that is a highly subjective statement. That is purely the view of those proposing change. Those against the legislation are arguing that legalisation will lead to more harm to people and communities. Why has that opinion not been included?”

“The government should be remaining completely independent on this referendum and the information they’re providing to voters, but they are showing their true colours. They have already hinted at this by not asking the simple question in the referendum “Do you want cannabis legalised for recreational use?” which is what the referendum should really be about. Instead they have loaded the question with putting the wording of a proposed bill which includes words like ‘control’ – also a highly dubious claim.”

“The government should be impartial, but this pamphlet has confirmed their pro-cannabis legalisation stance.” 

The Say Nope To Dope campaign is now seeking legal advice, and will be also making an official complaint to the Electoral Commission.
ENDS

Land Users Group Calls out Greens on Cannabis Environmental Harms

Media Release 7 July 2020
The Primary Land Users Group (PLUG) representing a cross-section of forestry, dairy, horticulture and dry-stock land-users has called out the Green Party, asking how they can reconcile their desire for legal cannabis with the negative environmental effects from cannabis cultivation.

In a media release, they’ve highlighted the experience of overseas jurisdictions where there has been erosion, river diversion, and habitat destruction from large grows, and say that the Greens “are quite vocal about blaming agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels for the country’s GHG emissions but it seems, taking the USA consumption as an example of the likely effects from legalisation in NZ, that logic does not come into their thinking – it is just about self-satisfaction.”

They also highlight concerns around “the case of pollution with the use of chemicals, which are often used to kill rodents which may damage the crop. These chemicals make their way into the sewage system and into our water supplies. They also make their way into the food chain, and can pose significant health risks to predators,” and that in Colorado, the “voracious energy consumption of growers is rubbing up against the city’s ambitions of cutting greenhouse gases.” They also say that “producing just a couple of pounds of weed can have the same environmental toll as driving across America seven times.”

In their concluding statements, they warn; “The legalisation of recreational or medicinal marijuana in eight states including California, Florida and Massachusetts, means some of the nation’s hard-earned progress towards climate change solutions is on the chopping block as regulators continue to ignore this industry’s mushrooming carbon footprint.”

SayNopeToDope campaign spokesperson Aaron Ironside says “The full effects of the industry on the natural environment are only just beginning to be recognised. These impacts occur even under a so-called “regulated” environment, as the vast amounts of water and electricity needed to power marijuana farms are damaging to the environment. One average kilogram of final product is associated with 4600 kg of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. According to research published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, cannabis cultivation consumes 5.2 MWh/y/kg of electricity and produces roughly 4.6 metric ton of CO2/kg of product.”

“If the Greens really want to protect the environment and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, then they should not be pushing for introducing the cannabis industry into New Zealand which may lead to environmental harms.” 

READ MORE https://saynopetodope.org.nz/not-so-green/

Higher Risk on Roads if Cannabis Legalised – Road Transport Forum

Media Release  3 July 2020
The Road Transport Forum has sent a warning about the higher risks on roads – and to New Zealand truck drivers in particular – and the danger of higher insurance premiums if cannabis is legalised in New Zealand.

Nick Leggett who is the CEO of the Road Transport Forum has written in transporttalk that the Road Transport Forum “believes the Bill, as drafted, gives no consideration to the principle of safety – on the road and in the workplace. We all share the roads – that’s pedestrians, cyclists, car and truck drivers – and everyone wants their loved ones to come home from work each day.”

Leggett writes “Already the number of people being killed by drug impaired drivers on New Zealand roads is higher than those killed by drivers above the legal alcohol limit. There have been years and years of media campaigns to stop people drinking and driving, but still they do it. So, what is planned to educate people on taking drugs and driving? Higher risk on the roads automatically means higher insurance premiums across the board – insurance is risk priced and you pay on probability. When households and businesses are already managing tight finances, they shouldn’t be surprised by expenses that should be made clear up front.”

SayNopeToDope campaign spokesperson Aaron Ironside says “The Road Transport Forum is right to be concerned. The rights of people to be safe on the road outweighs the right to smoke cannabis. If a person has THC in their system, we don’t want them on the road endangering other drivers and families. Since recreational marijuana was legalised in Colorado, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 151%, and doubled in Washington state. A quarter of Canadians aged 18-34 have driven after consuming cannabis or have been a passenger with someone who has, and a Colorado survey in 2018 found 69% of marijuana users have driven under the influence in the past year, and 27% admitted to driving high almost daily. A New Zealand study found that habitual users of marijuana have about 10 times the risk of car crash injury or death compared to infrequent or non-users.

Leggett concludes his article with the statement “We don’t want New Zealand’s truck drivers, who are just going about their work delivering all New Zealanders the goods they need, to be the casualty of poorly thought out laws.” 

READ MORE BACKGROUND & RESEARCH: https://saynopetodope.org.nz/driving-stoned/

NZ’s ‘Vote NO’ Campaign Is a NZ-Funded Effort

Media Release 30 June 2020
New Zealand’s Vote No campaign is rubbishing claims that the Vote NO campaign is being bankrolled by or controlled by US organisations.

“An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum. We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“Yes, the coalition is drawing on research and resources from prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) – the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.”

“SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”

“However, we reiterate that SAM in the US are not telling our coalition how to run our campaign, and have not contributed one cent to it.”

“What we are doing is drawing on the expertise and experience of a group that has watched the outcomes of legalisation in many US states. This is no different to groups like the Drug Foundation inviting people like Deborah Small, executive director of Break the Chains (USA), and US activist & author asha bandele (shown right) – both who attended a symposium attended by Andrew Little and Chlose Swarbrick in the Parliament buildings.”

SAM-NZ

(Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ) 

Aaron Ironside                        Spokesperson: SAM-NZ

Pat Buckley                             Amped4Life Trust

Shk Shaakir Ismail                   New Zealand Muslim Association

Pat Walsh                                Secondary School Principal, former head of a Principal’s Ass’n
Rev Pane Kawhia                     Anglican Minister, Ruatoria

Christine Rankin                      Transforming Justice Foundation

Dr Ate  Moala                          PACYFIC Trust

Vic Tamati                               Community Worker

Mo McLeary                            Drug Free Ambassadors

Dr Andreas Leinfellner            Paediatrician.

Kirk Hardy                               The Drug Detection Agency

Alli Axford                               Drug Free World

Mazin  Al-Salim                       Working Together Group (WTG)

Sully Pa’ea                               Community Worker – South Auckland

Maureen MacDonald              Drug-ARM Wellington

Wayne Mulqueen                   Focus on the Family NZ

Jess McVicar                           Sensible Sentencing Trust

Dave Pizzini                             Ex-Police (Detective Senior Sergeant)

Bob McCoskrie                        Family First NZ

Darryl Wesley                         Health Professional

Stuart Caldwell                       Get Smart (Tauranga)

Brendon Warne                      Anti-P Ministries

Alan Vink                                 LeadershipWorx

Dale Kirk                                  Methcon

Stuart Lange                          NZ Christian Network

Nick Tuitasi QSM                     Pacific Wave

John Subritzky                         Promise Keepers

Rob Nordstrom                       Rubicon Alcohol & Other Drug

Gaylene Fraser                        Drug Free World

Karrin  Coates                         Sensible Sentencing Group Trust

Greer Keane                            Te Ata Rangi Rangatahi

Glenn   Dobson                        International Board Member – National Drug and Alcohol

Screening Association (NDASA)

Gayann Phillips                       NZ Christian Network

Christina Stroud                      World Federation Against Drugs

Ismail  Waja                            Working Together Group (WTG)

Bruce Couper                          Ex-Police

Phil Paikea                              Community Worker

Trevor Turner                         Drug Free World

Imraan Ali                               New Zealand Muslim Association

Ronji Tanielu                           Community Worker

Allan Va’a                                Community Worker – South Auckland

Bev Adair-Beets                      Youth Advocate

Piripi Rakete                            Drug Free World

Dr Kevin Sabet                         SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

Luke Niforatos                        SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

Police Association Raises Significant Concerns of Legalising Cannabis

Media Release 12 June 2020
An analysis by the Police Association of the cannabis referendum and the possible legislation that would result from legalisation has raised significant concerns around continued gang presence and difficulties in enforcement.

In the article in the June edition of Police News, concerns raised by the Police Association include:

  • Difficult for voters to understand the legislation
  • Limiting potency will simply empower the gangs
  • Mixed messaging around enforcement
  • Police will be open to accusations of bias or inconsistency
  • Home grows will be difficult to police – and difficult to tell the difference between home grow and dealer
  • The proposed controls will result in gangs remaining significant players

With the help of senior lawyers, the SayNopeToDope campaign has also analysed the proposed legislation. Our 4-page summary, Analysis – Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, highlights significant concerns around:

  • home grows, and the large quantities that can be grown
  • consuming drugs at home in front of children and young people
  • high quantities of purchase and possession
  • age restrictions which will be difficult to enforce, as already evidenced by tobacco & alcohol
  • home production of edibles and dabbing e.g. butane hash oil (already an issue in NZ and overseas)
  • restrictions on potency which will be difficult to enforce and will empower the black market
  • difficulties for councils to ban pot shops in their local areas
  • increased regulation which will mean increased demand for policing (rather than a reduction as argued)
  • education and prevention is mentioned, but only in relation to use
  • significant concerns around workplace impairment
  • contradicts our SmokeFree 2025 policy

The analysis is also available online https://saynopetodope.org.nz/2020/05/01/control/

Coalition member and ex-Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Pizzini says “The biggest irony of the proposed legislation is that cannabis is actually a driver of crime and road trauma. Why would we open the floodgates on a substance that is harmful to young people, workplace safety, and our already overloaded mental health services.”
ENDS

Today’s Cannabis Linked To Violence – New Study

Media Release 8 June 2020
A large study just published by a team from Montreal University in Canada has found that people who regularly smoke cannabis are almost three times more likely to commit a violent offence as those who abstain from the drug.

The paper entitled “Association Between the Use of Cannabis and Physical Violence in Youths: A Meta-Analytical Investigation” and published in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) American Journal of Psychiatry did a meta-analysis of 30 studies which covered 296,815 people up to the age of 30.

The study found that over time, prolonged cannabis use profoundly alters the brain, making the user less able to control their temper, and that addicts may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms, making them irritable and prone to lashing out. Psychiatrist Professor Sir Robin Murray, a world-leading expert on the neurological impact of the drug, was quoted in the media saying that the link between cannabis use and violence was a ‘neglected area’.

The researchers say that while ‘the [scientific] literature has shown that cannabis use may lead to violent behaviours and aggression; however, this association has been inconsistent’ – with some studies showing a relationship and others not – their meta-analysis found users were more than twice as likely (2.15 times) to have committed a violent offence as non-users. Among ‘persistent heavy users’, the risk of violence was 2.81 times higher.

This follows a study published just last month in the journal JAMA Psychiatry which found that the use of high-potency cannabis was associated with a significant increase in the frequency of cannabis use, likelihood of cannabis problems, and likelihood of anxiety disorder. In addition, high-potency weed users are more likely to use weed at least once a week, twice as likely to have used illicit drugs within the past 12 months, and more than three times as likely to be tobacco smokers. Significantly, the study defined high potency as “typically ≥10% THC”. According to the proposed New Zealand legislation, THC levels (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) are initially set at 15% THC for smoking.

“This latest study simply reinforces what we already know. Today’s cannabis is a significantly harder more potent drug causing greater harms than the pot of the 90’s or earlier. The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS

Alliance of Community Leaders & Organisations Launch ‘Vote NO’ Campaign

Media Release 8 June 2020
An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum.

“We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”

The New Zealand coalition has aligned itself with the prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) – the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.

“Our NZ coalition is stoked to be aligned with such a credible organization as SAM. SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”

SAM-NZ
(Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ) 

REFERENDUM ON THE LEGALISATION OF RECREATIONAL CANNABIS 

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana. It plays a significant role in domestic violence, crime, accidents, mental disorders and lost productivity.

The referendum proposed by the Government on the legalisation of cannabis will therefore be a watershed moment for the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.

Legalising the drug would in effect legitimise and increase its use in New Zealand. Regulations and the educative approach have failed to prevent the abuse of alcohol in this country with all of us having to suffer its adverse consequences in road accidents, violence and anti-social behaviour.

When education and regulation fail, the legal status of the drug is the only bottom line to prevent its wholesale adoption with all of the negative consequences for us as a nation.

Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ) is an alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers), and opposes any attempt to legalise cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.

We argue that drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. A smart arrest policy can both provide a societal stamp of disapproval and provide an opportunity to intervene and stop the progression of use. Keeping marijuana illegal through an appropriate application of the laws that cater for ‘youthful indiscretions’ and which focus predominantly on supply and dealers is as much a public safety policy as it is a public health policy. But if those with addictions commit serious offences, as does happen, the criminal law cannot simply turn a blind eye. The community still needs to be protected.

We fully support the increased provision and funding of drug counselling services, drug treatment centres and drug education programmes in schools. These should remain our preferred ‘smart’ approach to cannabis use.

This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains and health. People should always come before profits.

Retaining it as a criminal offence sends a clear and unequivocal message that New Zealanders regard drug use as a dangerous and unacceptable form of recreation.

We urge New Zealanders to be fully informed on this debate, to think deeply on the implications, and to vote NO to legalising cannabis in the referendum.

Aaron Ironside                         Spokesperson: SAM-NZ
Pat Buckley                               Amped4Life Trust
Imraan Ali                             New Zealand Muslim Association
Pat Walsh                                  Secondary School Principal, former head of a Principal’s Ass’n
Rev Pane Kawhia                    Anglican Minister, Ruatoria
Christine Rankin                     Transforming Justice Foundation
Dr Ate  Moala                          PACYFIC Trust
Vic Tamati                               Community Worker
Mo McLeary                            Drug Free Ambassadors
Dr Andreas Leinfellner         Paediatrician.
Kirk Hardy                               The Drug Detection Agency
Alli Axford                               Drug Free World
Mazin  Al-Salim                      Working Together Group (WTG)
Sully Pa’ea                               Community Worker – South Auckland
Maureen MacDonald             Drug-ARM Wellington
Wayne Mulqueen                   Focus on the Family NZ
Jess McVicar                           Sensible Sentencing Trust
Dave Pizzini                             Ex-Police (Detective Senior Sergeant)
Bob McCoskrie                        Family First NZ
Darryl Wesley                         Health Professional
Stuart Caldwell                       Get Smart (Tauranga)
Brendon Warne                      Anti-P Ministries
Alan Vink                                 LeadershipWorx
Dale Kirk                                  Methcon
Stuart Lange                            NZ Christian Network
Nick Tuitasi QSM                   Pacific Wave
John Subritzky                        Promise Keepers
Rob Nordstrom                       Rubicon Alcohol & Other Drug
Gaylene Fraser                        Drug Free World
Karrin  Coates                         Sensible Sentencing Group Trust
Greer Keane                            Te Ata Rangi Rangatahi
Glenn   Dobson                       International Board Member – National Drug and Alcohol
Screening Association (NDASA)
Gayann Phillips                      NZ Christian Network
Christina Stroud                     World Federation Against Drugs
Ismail  Waja                            Working Together Group (WTG)
Bruce Couper                          Ex-Police
Phil Paikea                               Community Worker
Trevor Turner                         Drug Free World
Ronji Tanielu                          Community Worker
Allan Va’a                                Community Worker – South Auckland
Bev Adair-Beets                     Youth Advocate
Piripi Rakete                           Drug Free World
Dr Kevin Sabet                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
Luke Niforatos                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

 

Cannabis NO Campaign Announces Spokesperson

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.

Support For Legalising Cannabis Continues To Drop – Poll

Media Release 29 May 2020
A new poll – the first to be taken after the proposed bill to regulate cannabis was published by the Government – reveals that support for legalising cannabis for recreational use continues to drop.

The survey by Curia Market Research shows that 50% of New Zealanders said they plan to vote against legalisation, and only 35% are planning to vote in favour. 15% are undecided or wouldn’t say. Ignoring the undecided voters, the potential result is 59% against and 41% in favour. Strongest opposition comes from men, older voters and National voters. Labour voters appear split on the issue.

This polling is consistent with previous polling on the issue. The Horizon Research poll shows support for legalising has plummeted from 60% late 2018 to just 39% in 2019. This is a similar trend to the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll (39% support, down from 43%), and the Newshub-Reid Research Poll (41.7% support).

“We’re stoked that our messaging and our SayNopeToDope campaign is getting through to families. It is clear that while Kiwis strongly support a compassionate response to those in real need with a cautious and researched approach around cannabis medicine, when they thoughtfully consider the real implications of legalising recreational use, they completely reject the proposal – and rightly so.”

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”
ENDS