New Zealanders are more likely to vote against legalisation of cannabis in the upcoming referendum, according to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll.
Those polled were asked, 'At this stage, do you think you will vote for cannabis to be legalised, or for cannabis to remain illegal?'
Remain illegal - 51%
Legalise cannabis - 39%
Will not vote - 1%
Don’t know / refused - 9%
The groups of people who were more likely than average to intend to vote against legalising cannabis were Asian New Zealanders, National Party supports and people aged 55 and over.
Those who were more likely to intend to vote for legalisation were Green Party supporters, women aged 18 to 34, Māori, people with annual household incomes between $30,001 to $70,000 and Labour Party supporters.
Green Party's Chlöe Swarbrick said the poll results indicated that "we really have a job to do in getting out there and talking to people".
"This substance is underground, we have no idea who's using it... We have essentially chaos."
National's Paula Bennett said the result showed that "people are realising that actually legalising recreational cannabis can't be good for our mental health as a nation".
At this year's general election on September 19, the cannabis referendum will ask: "Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?" and they will have to give a yes or no answer.
A draft copy of the bill was released outlining how the proposed new law could work.
If it were to pass, the purchase age and the legal age of use would be 20. People would be able to grow a small amount themselves - two plants per person with a maximum of four plants per household.
Licensed premises would be allowed to sell cannabis, but it could only be consumed on site or in a private residence. Consumption in public places would be prohibited, and online or remote sales of cannabis would not be allowed.
There would be a ban on advertising of cannabis products, although limited marketing will be allowed.
In the October 2018 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, the results were slightly more in favour of legalisation than against , with nearly half wanting the drug to be legal. Forty-six per cent of Kiwis were in favour of legalisation and 41 per cent were against.
In the July 2017 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, 47 per cent were in favour of cannabis legalisation and 41 per cent were opposed.
Between February 8 to 12, 1004 eligible voters were polled by landline (402) and mobile phone (602). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.
The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, ethnic identification and mobile or landline access.
Those polled were asked: 'A referendum on the legalisation of cannabis will be held at the 2020 General Election. New laws would allow people aged 20 and over to purchase cannabis for recreational use. The laws would also control the sale and supply of cannabis. At this stage, do you think you will vote for cannabis to be legalised , or for cannabis to remain illegal?'
The order in which the answer codes were read was reversed, so 50 per cent of respondents heard 'cannabis to be legalised' first, and 50 per cent heard 'cannabis to remain illegal' first.