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Time to repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

Time to repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

“The Law Commission delivered a 2001 report calling, by any other name, for the decriminalisation of drugs: to repeal and replace the Misuse of Drugs Act. In the past two years, another two far more transformational reports – He Ara Oranga/Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry, and Turuki! Turuki!/Safe and Effective Justice Review – have been delivered to Labour Party ministers, for health and justice respectively. The latter is so bold as to suggest legal regulation of all drugs.

Nobody, from fundamentalist opposition through to Labour ministers, can seriously suggest that a narrow loss for one specific, niche law on cannabis shuts down dialogue on how we tackle all drug harm, from alcohol to methamphetamine. Such a referendum result does not erase the detailed expert reports that politicians commissioned to help build a mandate for change.

They’ve got that mandate as elected representatives; as people who campaigned to improve lives, reduce the prison population and improve mental health; as decision makers responsible to heed the science, let alone the science they asked for.

It’s leadership. It’s time to repeal and replace the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, lest we keep messily and unsatisfactorily carving out bits here for medicinal cannabis, there for drug-checking, here for hemp products, there for synthetics and methamphetamine harm.

The referendum debate highlighted a major area of consensus: New Zealanders want drugs treated as a health issue, and there’s work to do on the how. That’s not coming off the agenda.”

We should be safe from unreasonable search, seizure, arrest and detention

We should be safe from unreasonable search, seizure, arrest and detention

Did you know that the Misuse of Drugs Act gives the police powers of search and seizure without warrant?
The police can (and do) stop people on the street, or enter their homes to search for drugs. People have been stopped on flimsy grounds such as “I smell  cannabis so I am going to search you”
Nobody should be subject to unreasonable search, seizure, arrest and detention – yet thousands of New Zealanders have been subject to searches based on very limited grounds.

Laws should not unduly infringe on the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Laws should not unduly infringe on the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Laws should not unduly infringe on the rights and freedoms of individuals.
Having a law that dictates what adults can consume, is an infringement based on a moral judgement. It does not matter if you agree with people taking mind altering substances or not. You do not have the right to unduly infringe on their right to do so, or take away their right to freedom.

How can we respect a law that is unfair, unclear and undermines respect for the law?

Why have a law, if you are just going to direct the police not to enforce it.
Giving the police discretion to choose not to prosecute people for cannabis possession makes a mockery of the law. Particularly when there are insufficient safeguards to ensure these discretionary powers are not abused.
How can we respect a law that is unfair, unclear and undermines respect for the law?

Laws should be certain and clear

Laws should be certain and clear

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is not fit for purpose. The law is 45 years old.
In 2019 amendments were made which (effectively) direct the police to use discretion for instances of cannabis possession (i.e. ignore the law) unless it is in the best interests of society to prosecute an individual.
The law is not certain or clear when the police are directed to use such a high level of discretion.

Its a nail biter!

Its a nail biter!

The preliminary results were released today for the cannabis referendum show the yes vote at 46.1% with the no vote higher at 53.1%.
But with 480,000 special votes yet to be counted there is still a chance the yes vote could win the referendum

Final results will be released on the 6th November.

See the full preliminary results here:

THANKS! to all our volunteers and supporters

THANKS! to all our volunteers and supporters

For security reasons, we have had to keep all our amazing volunteers anonymous – UNTIL NOW!
Please give a big round of thanks and appreciation to the MIL volunteer team:

Campaign Manager:  Sandra Murray

Social Media Moderators

HUGE thanks to this utterly dedicated group of volunteers. The MIL Facebook page averaged 3,000 comments per day and this team moderated around 18 hours a day filtering out abuse; getting rid of trolls and fake profiles; engaging with people to stop misinformation and answering questions on an extraordinary range of topics. We cannot thank them enough for remaining calm (mostly) and answering the same questions over and over and over and over and …….

Kate Milnes

Helen Leggatt

Matthew Elrod

Worik Stanton

Jo Wrigley

Jason Stevens

Deb Lydford

Elliot Ingram

Sandra Murray

Michael Smith

Nandor Tanczos


Social Media

All our Top Fans and commentators, especially: Associate Professor Joe Boden, Professor Julian Buchanan, Hoto Te Whitu, Martin MacGregor and Graeme Woller (you have no idea how much we appreciated your help!).

Social media content creation & Instagram: Cat

Website, social media and video content:
Thanks to Michael Smith, Rebecca Reider, Angelina Stanton, Sandra Murray, Eddie Larson (video editing), Benny Mack / Reopen (video editing), Andrew Streb (Animations) and all the others who didn’t want to be named.

Local Groups

Leads: Anntwinette Grumball & Kate Milnes
Dunedin & Otago:
Leads: Bert Holmes &  Worik Stanton
Lead: Michael Smith
Asher, Inga, Jade, Irinka, Mike, Snap, Scott, Ani, Chris, Sean, Daniel, Ryan, Ben, Luke, Keiller, Rick, Alex, Rebekah, Thor, and everyone else who helped us out!
Lead: Te Aroha Knox
Lead: Jacob Heatherington
Michael Riddell, Andy Duncan
Lead: Jared Renata
Palmerston North:
Lead: Tayte Cozens
Auckland & Northland:
Lead:  Sandra Murray
Stephen Groves, Zac Russell, HazBro, Martin Anderson, Lephi Peneha

Make It Legal Aotearoa New Zealand Trustees

Worik Stanton Metiria Turei Nandor Tanczos Rebecca Reider

Other support

Hoodies and T-Shirts: HigherNZ
Bumper Sticker sales: Cosmic & Hempstore
Ashleigh the Advocate

Extra Special Thanks

Thank you.… to all the amazing people who donated and supported us to run the best campaign possible – especially all the people who donated regular amounts into our account for months and were the backbone of our entire social media campaign ($4.20 was popular!).

Everyone who put a banner on their fence and held a sign at a picket

RS  – who rescued us from Covid-19 and helped everything get bigger and better

And a very big thank you to our families, who had to put up with us being absent, preoccupied and obsessed with Make It Legal for a protracted time 
xxxxx much love



Make It Legal hails Advertising Standards Authority decision

Make It Legal hails Advertising Standards Authority decision

The decision of the Advertising Standards Authority, released today, is a victory for truth over disinformation says the Make It Legal campaign.

The ASA received a complaint (no. 20/412) about an advertisement put out by the Make It Legal campaign pointing out the negative consequences of keeping prohibition. One of those consequences was “Patients with serious conditions can’t access medicinal cannabis”, and this was the subject of the complaint. The ASA ruled that there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

“The Noper campaigns, guided by their US handlers, has been pulling a range of dirty tricks against us.” said Make It Legal spokesperson Sandra Murray “This is just part of that. Spurious complaints, trying to get us banned from social media, sowing misinformation and confusion, it’s all par for the course. New Zealand people and New Zealand institutions will not be swayed by these kinds of tactics”

“One of the many reasons that people are voting ‘yes’ to the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill is that they know it will improve access for medicinal cannabis. The no-sayers know this and are desperate to convince people otherwise. It won’t work. This decision reconfirms what we all know.”

“For the Make It Legal campaign, it’s about keeping it true. We are glad the ASA supports that”.

Guest Blog: What will happen after we win the referendum?

Guest Blog: What will happen after we win the referendum?

Cannabis won’t be legal straight away after the referendum. Once the election is finished, the votes for the referendum will be counted. If there are more than 50% yes votes, the government will introduce the Bill to parliament.

First reading

The Cannabis Bill will then be read to parliament in a first reading. It is here that it will be initially debated in parliament. If it is mainly agreed upon, the Bill will then be referred to a “select committee”.

Select Committee

A Select Committee is a small group of MP’s (usually between 6 and 12) which are broadly representative of the parties in parliament. Their job is to examine all aspects of the Bill and its implications. It is in this part of the process that the public will be invited to make submissions. This means you can write in with your opinion on the Bill that came out of the parliamentary reading, for it to be taken into consideration. It is very likely that you will also be able to watch the Select Committee as they examine the Bill, either in person or online. Usually the Select Committee process takes about six months. After this time they will collate a report which will contain any amendments they would like to make to the Bill, and explanations of why they decided upon those changes.

Second reading whole house committee and third reading

The Select Committee will bring their report to parliament where it will again be read. If there are amendments that were not decided upon unanimously by the Select Committee they will be voted on in parliament after the second reading.

The next step is a “committee of the whole house” where any member of parliament can debate and make small speeches on any aspect of the Bill. This process can sometimes take a few days. Once the Bill is agreed upon and amended if necessary, there is a third and final reading in parliament.

Bills are unlikely to be rejected if they make it through to a third reading, but this the last chance for MPs to debate it, before it’s final form is passed to the governor general to sign. Once the Bill has been signed by the governor general, it becomes law.

Guest Blog by Angelina Stanton







Guest Blog: Does cannabis use cause parents to neglect their children?

Guest Blog: Does cannabis use cause parents to neglect their children?

Unfortunately here in Aotearoa, we have a serious problem with child abuse. According to a a 2012 report prepared for the Ministry of Health, approximately one child a day was admitted to hospital with injuries relating to assault, neglect or maltreatment. Sadly these figures appear to have increased over recent years.

With this in mind it is understandable many people are worried about the effects legalising cannabis may have on child abuse, particularly neglect. Though there have been many child homicides linked to the use of alcohol or drugs such as methamphetamine and synthetics, there has been no link between the use of cannabis by itself, and child abuse. When cannabis has been involved in these cases it is almost always secondary to other substances like alcohol.

 Legalising cannabis will mean that those who do want to use it on a recreational basis will have a safe and accessible way to get it. It will also people will no longer be prosecuted for using a substance that is relatively harmless. It’s pretty hard not to neglect your children from jail!

 Samantha, 32 told us about her experience growing up with heavy alcohol users as compared to cannabis smokers:

 As a child my parents separated when I was young. I grew up with my mother who developed a heavy dependency on alcohol, and became a daily drinker along with her partner. I regularly visited my father and eventually moved in with him. He was a regular cannabis user and had a joint most days with dinner, and only drank occasionally.

Living with alcoholic parents was extremely volatile and unpredictable. I never knew what mood they would be when I came home. Whether they would be in a happy drunk mood, or angry, smashing dishes and yelling at each other. If they had too much alcohol, sometimes they would pass out in the afternoon or evening and leave us kids to our own devices. A lot of money went on booze, and they were often too drunk to cook or anything else, so we mainly lived off sandwiches, noodles and fried food and we didn’t do any extra curricular activities.

When I lived with my dad it was a much calmer environment. Although he used cannabis almost daily, it didn’t interfere with what he had to do during the day, including taking care of his children. He would often be a bit spaced out in the evenings, and that’s it. I remember him having legal troubles due to growing plants for his personal use.

As an adult I smoke rarely but I support the legalisation of cannabis, because I don’t think people like my father should be prosecuted for something that is usually pretty harmless.

Guest Blog by Angelina Stanton