Friday, April 19, 2024

NZ Poll Reveals Cannabis Referendum Outcome is Still Questionable


Commissioned by Kiwi medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, the latest Horizon Research survey has indicated that 52% of all respondents said they would vote in support of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, while 47% would vote against. This result would mean a small majority of around 139,300 votes for the bill, with 53% of females and 51% of males in support .

“Young adults are the strongest supporters of the bill, but they also have the lowest registration and intention to vote.”

This was the latest in a series of eight comprehensive surveys aiming to track the public’s opinion on the cannabis law reform. The same survey conducted in August, had indicated a 49.5% in support and 49.5% opposed result.

“The ‘yes’ vote has firmed up slightly, but it’s still looking very close, with public opinion set to keep shifting right up until voting closes on the evening of Saturday, 17 October,” said Paul Manning, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics.

“The quality of debate and the strength of arguments for or against legalisation in the next two weeks are now critical. Turn-out of 18 to 34-year-olds will also be key. Young adults are the strongest supporters of the bill, but they also have the lowest registration and intention to vote,” he added.

In terms of ethnicity, support levels were Māori 64%; Indian 55%; Pasifika 53%; NZ European 52%; Other European’ 50%; and Asian 41%. For the fourth time running, this last survey forced participants to vote yes or no, by not giving them an I ‘don’t know’ option.

In the last survey with an ‘I’m not sure’ option, 9% selected it. “Nearly one in 10 New Zealanders remain uncertain about how they’re going to vote on cannabis legalisation, and that includes totally committed election voters. Again, both camps’ ability to reach and connect to the public in the coming days will be absolutely critical to the referendum result. It’s staggering that nearly 300,000 Kiwis have yet to make up their minds, which makes it quite exciting but also somewhat unpredictable,” said Mr Manning.

The key results of the last survey for all respondents were as follows:

Referendum options:

Yes, I support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. No, I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

All respondents:

  • 52% – for
  • 47% – against
  • 1% – no response

Age Group:

  • 18 – 24 years: 63% for / 35% against
  • 25 – 34 years: 69% for / 31% against
  • 35 – 44 years: 60% for / 40% against
  • 45 – 54 years: 57% for / 43% against
  • 55 – 64 years: 41% for / 58% against
  • 65 – 74 years: 33% for / 66% against
  • 75yrs or over: 27% for / 73% against

Note: some results may not total 100% owing to rounding

The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme

Meanwhile, last April New Zealand’s Health Ministry launched the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme. The final regulations pertaining to the scheme were announced late last year, and since then Kiwi officials had strived to ensure that research and development licence-holders were well equipped to take the next steps. These included applying for the likes of commercial cultivation and manufacturing licences, so that local companies are able to start production.

The Scheme’s April 1st launch had taken effect rather quietly, however is expected to have a significant impact on the many locals who are living with conditions that may be helped by the medicinal compound. Additionally, it will naturally be of great benefit to the country’s economy via exporting opportunities and the multiple industries involved which will add to the country’s GDP.

Additionally, the initiative is operating via GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards which will ensure the quality and consistency of cannabinoid-based medicines. This serves to assure medical practitioners that they are prescribing safe and high quality products.

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