The Case for Yes

The Case for Yes

Report by the Helen Clark Foundation setting out the case for a Yes vote in the 2020 cannabis referendum.

From the introduction:
In 2020, New Zealanders will have the chance to make a historic decision about whether or not to change the way we regulate personal cannabis use. If we miss this opportunity, the chance may pass for a generation. Cannabis use is a reality in New Zealand, and the results of our current policy approach damage our health, worsen social equity, and drive crime.

This paper argues that the status quo is unacceptable, and seeks to ask how we can do better? Our answer is that we should move to a health-based approach with robust regulation, effective public health education, and adequate service provision.Our key criteria for any policy are: what will best improve health and equity while reducing harm? Evidence suggests that up to eighty per cent of New Zealanders will use cannabis at least once before turning 25, making cannabis the most commonly used illicit drug in New Zealand. Yet cannabis remains an illegal drug, and prosecutions for possession and use alone continue for those unlucky enough to get caught.

The current approach to cannabis inflicts excessive punishment on those users who face prosecution who, in turn, are disproportionately Māori. In this paper, we argue that New Zealanders of all political persuasions should follow the evidence of what works and what doesn’t. The evidence points to a vote in support of cannabis legalisation and regulation in 2020.

Our view is that the New Zealand Government should adopt an approach to cannabis use which sees it as a health and social issue and not a criminal one. Regulation should seek to prevent the emergence of major corporate interests in the market which would have a profit motive to undermine public health objectives.In this respect New Zealand can learn from its experience with regulating tobacco and alcohol. Overall our analysis argues that the disproportionately adverse effects of current policies on cannabis use justify putting in place legalisation and effective regulation.

Using cannabis for pain caused by sports injuries

Using cannabis for pain caused by sports injuries

One of our followers on facebook messaged us…

I used to think that cannabis legalisation was just for stoners.

Then i was prescribed pain killers for a sports injury and had to turn to natural medicine to protect my liver.

Legalising cannabis allows me to access affordable cannabis products with clear labels and potency limits without doing shady deals with drug dealers.


Pain relief for sports injuries

How are you spreading the word?

How are you spreading the word?

With your help Make It Legal can change the law. Every little action helps us to legalise cannabis. Here are some things you can do to help.

Spread the Word


1. Know the facts

Read up on the reasons to support Cannabis law reform. The report from the Helen Clark Foundation, “The case for Yes” gives a good summary of the issues.

Direct people to the official Referendum page that has all the detail on the Cannabis Legalisation & Control Bill.

All voting and enrollment details can be found on the page


2. Hear them out

There are a variety of reasons some people are concerned. Help them understand that legalisation also means control, regulation, reduced crime, and protecting our young people from access.


3. Be patient

New ideas take time. You can’t force people to change their mind.  Watch this video to pick up tips.

Vote Yes to introduce an age limit for cannabis buyers

Vote Yes to introduce an age limit for cannabis buyers

I can’t help but laugh when I hear people say they are voting no to protect our young people.

We aren’t protected right now.

We are offered other drugs like meth when we buy cannabis from dealers.

You want to keep me safe?

Put yourself in my shoes.

Vote yes to an age limit and to get rid of the illicit market.


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