Cannabis decriminalisation favoured by majority of National, ACT, Labour and Greens supporters, poll finds

Source: 1News

Cannabis legalisation or decriminalisation is favoured by the majority of all Labour, National, Green, and ACT supporters, according to a new poll released by the Helen Clark Foundation.

In the UMR poll, supporters were asked how they voted in last year’s referendum.

Those who voted no were then asked which option describes best what changes they would like to see to New Zealand's cannabis laws: Cannabis should be decriminalised but not legalised, current law and level of enforcement should stay the same, more cannabis offences should be taken to court and other or unsure.

Overall, 69 per cent either supported the bill or would support decriminalisation.

For National Party supporters surveyed, 52 per cent supported legalisation or decriminalisation, with 47 per cent saying the law should stay the same or be tougher.

Fifty-one per cent of ACT supporters were in favour of legalisation or decriminalisation, with 49 per cent saying the law should stay the same or be tougher.

Labour supporters had 81 per cent support for legalisation or decriminalisation, with 18 per cent saying the law should stay the same or be tougher.

The Greens had 93 per cent supporting legalisation or decriminalisation, with seven per cent saying the law should stay the same or be tougher.

Helen Clark Foundation executive director Kathy Errington says the results of the polls indicate a broad mandate for change with cannabis laws.

"These results suggest New Zealanders do not want us to fall behind the rest of the world on drug policies. The adult use of cannabis is already legal for one-third of the population of the United States, and 36 states have medical markets in place,” she said.

“The Government has nothing to lose politically from lifting the burden of criminalisation – especially from the shoulders of young people and Māori, both of whom continue to make up a disproportionate amount of those being dragged through the courts on drug charges." 

Results were weighted to 2018 census data for age, gender, region and ethnicity. They were also weighted to reflect the 2020 referendum results accurately out of the total adult population.

The maximum sampling error for a sample size of 833 at the 95 per cent confidence level is ±3.4 per cent.

Figures for other parties were too small to report accurately.