Day: 23 July 2020

3 posts

Guest Blog: How we’re gonna win!

Guest Blog: How we’re gonna win!

By Rebecca Reider
Trustee, Make It Legal Aotearoa New Zealand

The cannabis referendum on October 17th is just around the corner! The polls are showing we have a decent shot at winning, but it is by no means guaranteed. All we can be sure of is that it’s likely to be a very close race. Every single vote matters.

So if we’re going to win this thing, we all need to activate the people around us to vote yes.

Does that mean you have to get into an hours-long argument with some random person who has bizarre stereotypes about ‘dopeheads’? No! There are way more effective ways to use your energy. So here are some ideas.


Make sure all the young people in your life are enrolled to vote. Young people are by far the most supportive of legalising cannabis. But history shows that young people also have the lowest voting rates! This is a problem. We need to mobilise young voters. Send them a message, remind them when election day is. Show them how easy it is to enrol to vote on (Seriously, it is SO easy. I just updated my details online there because I just moved house; it took me a total of three minutes, and all I needed was my name, address and driver’s licence.)

Have a Vote Party

Once everyone’s enrolled they still need to be reminded to vote! Election Day (Sept 19) is on a Saturday. This is a historic opportunity to have our say… so why not celebrate it with a voting party? Get everyone together for an afternoon hangout or BBQ, then go vote together at 4.20pm. (But save the cannabis for AFTER you all vote!)

Talk to your elders

Polls show that the older generation are more likely to vote no. But often this is based on misinformation because they simply haven’t had anyone explain why the referendum makes sense. Talk to elder people you have a relationship with, particularly family members, in a respectful way.

Choose your moments. Don’t waste your energy on someone who is ranting, incoherent, and never in a million years going to vote yes. Talk to people who have sincere concerns and see if you can help them reconsider.

Understand your audience. Listen to people’s genuine concerns if they’re not sure which way to vote, and take them seriously.

If you’re talking to someone who’s on the fence, and they’re saying “I’m concerned about young people accessing cannabis,” it’s not going to help if you say “Hey, we all have a right to choose what we put in our bodies!”…. because if you say that, you’re not addressing the values or concerns of your audience. In this example, it would be much more helpful to explain that legalisation with a regulated market will actually keep young people safer – people under 20 won’t be able to buy cannabis, and when they do turn 20, they’ll have access to cannabis that is controlled for safety and potency rather than getting unknown stuff from a tinny house. (You could also mention that multiple overseas studies have shown that legalising cannabis for adults does not increase youth use of cannabis!)

Know your stuff.

You don’t have to become an expert on legalisation, but if you learn even a little bit, you’re going to know more than most people you talk to. Being knowledgeable can help you stay calm, and that will help reassure anyone you’re talking with. Here are some resources to check out, depending how far you want to go:

Our brief explainer of what’s in the bill

The case for yes – The Helen Clark Foundation’s explanation of why a yes vote makes sense for New Zealand

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s balanced analysis of the likely results if we pass the referendum

The government’s detailed explanation of what’s in the bill

Get out on the streets

One of the most fun ways to raise awareness for the cause is to get out in public with some Make It Legal signs. It’s not that hard – all you need is a few mates and a spare hour of time (or less – or more!). Stand on a busy street corner, look happy, wave your signs, enjoy people tooting their horns at you in support! Seeing public displays like this, from people like you, helps the public feel like voting yes is a mainstream and relatable thing to do. Contact us if you’d like a sign.

Explain the process

Understand the process, and explain it to others. Many people seem anxious about the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (that’s the legislation that the referendum would send to Parliament) because they don’t understand the process. The referendum will NOT immediately legalise cannabis.

It is only the first step, which will get the government to introduce legislation to Parliament. There will be a Select Committee process where the public can make submissions and influence the legislation. So for cannabis users who think the bill isn’t perfect and therefore don’t want to support it – relax, we need to pass the referendum first and then we can work to improve the bill. And for conservative folks who are scared this is all moving too fast – you can tell them to relax, this is only step one in the conversation. If we don’t pass the referendum, though, we don’t get to have that conversation in Parliament at all.

NZ will see savings of $6-$13m in cannabis-related court and prison costs

NZ will see savings of $6-$13m in cannabis-related court and prison costs

The New Zealand Drug Foundation have analysed the  latest figures from the Ministry of Justice and they show New Zealand is still arresting, charging and convicting thousands of people every year for low-level drug-related offences.

Criminalising drug use does not work. As the New Zealand Drug Foundation state, “we need to start treating drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one. This will not only save money in the justice and prison system – it will allow those who are struggling with their drug use to get the help they need.”

Vote Yes Stickers

Vote Yes Stickers

The Make It Legal team are dedicated to providing as much information about the upcoming Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill as possible so everyone can make an informed decision and of course ultimately vote YES.

Sometimes the creative department get carried away though and produce posts that are perhaps more abstract than informative.  Here are some of our favourite posts below.  Let us know which one you like best in the comments.

Is that an Iceberg in the sky? Um Yes.
This Pegasus is voting Yes
On election day, be sure to read a book about the universe – then vote yes
Mystical reasons to vote yes include this pyramid and night sky montage.
Another day another pyramid montage
Vector art = Vote Yes.
Not sure if the guy in the middle is completely on board with this one.


We highly recommend celebrating with confetti after returning from your local voting booth.

The paint in this picture matches our logo.

I think this was in a Jamiroquai video?


My guess this is a lava lamp.


I can see a person waiting at a polling booth about to vote Yes.


My thank you card stationary ready to write a thank you card to all my friends who voted yes.  Quill pen slightly out of shot.

This genie is getting out to vote.  Luckily he enrolled online at before leaving his bottle

We asked the team member who made this to at least explain the concept to us – “I like tigers”, was the response.  It is worth pointing out that our entire content team are volunteers.  You can volunteer too.  Please.

This one speaks for itself.  A white clad woman is standing on a cloud, and looking into the distance at her nearest voting booth on election morning – whereupon she will cote Yes.

Again.  Very important.  Remember confetti on election day.  Don’t forget.

A beautiful water lily, sadly unaware that Monet died 100 years ago.

Is this from the original Tron or the remake?

I had to hold the camera really still all night to get this shot.  You better vote Yes.

Ordering confetti. 

You’ve earned a nice rest after getting this far. Well done.  Now how are you going to vote in the referendum?