Blog

Blog

No Title

Fake news is well and truly tangled up in anti-cannabis campaigns.

Remember that anecdotes are not data and fear is not fact. Research content before you vote and call out misinformation when you see it.

Make it legal promise to continue to present you with the facts, especially from NZ research, to help you make an informed vote.

Contact us know if you have any questions or concerns we can help with!

Your Billion Dollar Vote – BERL Report backs legalisation

Your Billion Dollar Vote – BERL Report backs legalisation

It is great that the Ministry of Justice have released the Berl reports Evidence to inform a regulated cannabis market.  It is better that everyone gets to read the reports before the 2020 cannabis referendum.

These reports are a stirring, detailed and data-driven vindication for voting Yes – for Cannabis regulation and control as a superior model for NZ.

Here are some of the key berl takeaways:

It estimated tax from legalisation cannabis would net the New Zealand Government $640 million per year. Adding the revenue from licensing fees minus the cost of administering the scheme, Berl says there would be $675m a year that could be used for health services. (Other levies would add up to get to over a billion per year in revenue.)

Health interventions under legalisation would see the number of cannabis users drop, as well as ultimately reducing the amount of cannabis used.

Successful interventions when cannabis is legalised could see the number of cannabis users with long-term health conditions drop by between 4600 and 5900, and a reduction in the number of users with mental health diagnoses of between 6500 and 7800. That would see fewer cannabis-related hospitalisations, fewer users leaving school without qualifications, and an increase in employability along with a $280 to $380 increase in annual incomes, Berl says.

Berl’s modelling assumed that a legal market would displace about two-thirds of the black market in a few years. (Two thirds! No one said the illicit market would be completely eradicated by the legal one immediately, but the assumption that two thirds is gone after a few years is surely a wonderful thing! And just like alcohol after prohibition in the 1920s, over time the illicit market will eventually evaporate.

The legal cannabis industry would employ 5000 people fulltime, creating $210m a year in salaries and wages and boosting GDP by $440m a year.

Lastly, the Berl report makes it clear that the referendum isn’t a debate about whether cannabis exists or not – it already does, and is freely accessible to anyone under the current prohibition model.  The report makes clear that if we legalise, pretty much every harm that cannabis causes under the current prohibition model will be reduced.

We challenge all kiwis who care about New Zealand and their fellow New Zealanders to read this report. It supports legalisation and lays out how it’s better in clear language with dollars attached. If you care about better outcomes for New Zealand.  Read this report and vote yes!

NZ’s Gen Z – Why aren’t they enrolled? (+ an invitation)

NZ’s Gen Z – Why aren’t they enrolled? (+ an invitation)

I get it. They are intimidating. A scathing look from a Gen Z-er can send a chill down my Millennial spine any day. Did I do something uncool? Did I fumble on my lingo? They have their unique language, technology, style (although I do recognize the bucket hats and bad white sneakers from my 7-year-old wardrobe.) 

Each new generation has always brought a culture of rebellious newness with it, and it seems that Gen Z is no different. They are pushing back – we can see it in their low enrolment. And though they might dismiss the system – we cannot dismiss them. 

Generation Z has a place in our society and politics. Born between the late 90s and 2015, they make up New Zealand’s youngest group of voters, aged 18-24. They are our second-largest voting group with 450,500 potential voters. The only larger voting group in New Zealand are 70+, almost all of whom are enrolled to vote.

But to date, only 68% of the crucial Gen Z voters are enrolled to vote, leaving 144,005 voters missing in action. They are perhaps the most passionate in our community about social issues and the environment — but something isn’t adding up. Why aren’t Gen Z enrolled to vote?

There are several theories behind why people don’t vote:

  • Apathy – they just don’t care;
  • Ignorance – they don’t know there is an election or they don’t understand how it works;
  • Inaccessibility – lack of information on the election, how to enrol, or how to vote;
  • Laziness – the process of enrolling, finding a location, and voting is too hard;
  • Burnout – they are overwhelmed by information, or feelings of insignificance in a large system, and opting out becomes easier

If you ask Mike Hosking, the particularly outspoken breakfast host on Newstalk ZB, he would most likely point to apathy and laziness as the reasons our youngest voters aren’t participating. “You can’t rely on young people to vote,” he says in an interview with the NZ Herald, “If youth could change the world talking about it or tweeting about it, something might actually happen, but given it requires organising yourself to the extent you get a pen and fill out a form, it hasn’t and won’t.”

He has one point: there is an eerie silence coming from our young people while the election and referendums creep ever nearer. The apathy and laziness Mike hints at even have a name – Slacktivism. Wearing the t-shirt to show you care or liking posts on social media, for example, but never moving beyond ‘awareness’ into action.

But I think Mike has it wrong. Gen Z aren’t slacktivists. They don’t just sit behind their screens. We’ve seen them show up over and over again to parades, marches, and protests. They aren’t apathetic either. They’re one of our most diverse and engaged generations. As Reaching Generation Z confirms, over one quarter of them volunteer, “60 percent want their jobs to make a difference in the world, and 76 percent are concerned about ‘humanity’s impact on the planet.’” 

Instead of dismissing this generation, we have to consider their position in society. According to the Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report that looked at the mental health of young kiwis, our Gen Z-ers are most concerned with Suicide (85%), Cost of living (83%), Mental health (82%), Access to mental health services (80%), and Violence in society (78%). That’s a heavy load for our youngest generation.

Gen Z are a dizzying juxtaposition of being digitally hyper-connected, as well as heavily individualized and isolated young people.

The real disconnect here is that Generation Z isn’t represented in our politics. The recent Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020 which looked at the mental health of young Kiwis found that,  “Less than a third of people in this age group felt connected to their community.” And if you don’t see yourself in the system, how can you trust it? Why would you engage with it? Many are just coming out from under the wings of their parents, getting up on their own feet and discovering who they are. How do the older generations greet them?  Dismissals like those in the words of Mike Hosking. Chloe Swarbrick, Green Party MP, offers a welcome political life raft to this generation, filling over some gaps in policy and representation, but one person in one party isn’t enough. One party is not the choice politics is supposed to offer voters.

In true Gen Z style, they are protesting. Their refusal to engage in the election is a boycott.

But instead of boycotting, if Gen Z pulled a U-turn in a mass voter turnout, this could be an election to turn the tides in New Zealand. In this year’s election, we are also voting in the Cannabis Referendum – whether or not we support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. As young people concerned about mental health issues and access to support, Gen Z can use their votes for a Bill that treats cannabis as a health issue, promises education and health campaigns, supports those who are stigmatized, implements an age limit, reduces the illicit market selling who-knows-what to underage users, and a huge boost of funding to support systems. As the age group with futures affected by a conviction – losing access to travel, education, employment, home renting and buying – it makes sense for Gen Z to enrol to vote for a health intervention or a small fine instead of a conviction for underage people found with cannabis. As the age group concerned with racial discrimination and violence who attended the Black Lives Matter march in swarms earlier this year, it makes sense to vote to abolish our War on Drugs cannabis laws that continue to disproportionately target Māori rangatahi.

So what do we do? How do we earn back the trust of our youngest generation?

It’s up to all of us – to every older generation who has already entered the voting world. We have had a bit more time to work our way into society, now established in workspaces and a bit more practised at voting. It is up to us to bring our younger voter siblings into the voting sphere with us – invite them, explain the system, give them space to air their concerns, give them room to participate in their own way. Their votes are what can push policies we too stand for across the line.

But most importantly, Gen Z, it’s up to you. The greatest way you can fight the system is from within. To take your place as the second-largest voting group in New Zealand. To take advantage of your size and power, and enrol to vote. It is no exaggeration that Gen Z could flip the vote from No to Yes in the Cannabis Referendum. There are about as many 18-34-year-old voters in New Zealand as there are aged 55-70+. Imagine what we could change.

 

 

To: Generation Z



What: You are cordially invited to participate in politics, enrolling, and voting.

When: October 17th

Where: A voting booth near you

Attire: If you wear your bucket hat I’ll dust off mine too?


Love, New Zealand

It takes the tax from 10 kiwis to keep one cannabis user in prison

It takes the tax from 10 kiwis to keep one cannabis user in prison

The scientific department at Make It Legal are a busy bunch.  One of their latest discoveries calculates that it takes the tax from 10 kiwis to keep one cannabis user in prison.

Here’s how that value was calculated.

Median income: $52k.
The median income of New Zealander’s in 2019 is $52000

Effective tax rate on average 17.5%
The effective tax rate for those on $52000 is between 15% and 20%, we have used 17.5% for our calculation.   This means that $9100 is the median tax paid per person per year.

$90k to imprison a kiwi for a year
The department of corrections have stated that it costs $91000 to imprison a New Zealander for year.  As the tax paid by the median New Zealander per year is 9100, it takes the tax from ten New Zealander’s to imprison someone for a year.

 

We recommend a visit to the Drug Foundation website to find out more about the cost of our cannabis convictions.

Helen Clark sits down to talk about Cannabis Legalisation and Control

Helen Clark sits down to talk about Cannabis Legalisation and Control

Helen Clark sits down to talk about Cannabis Legalisation and Control and the upcoming Referendum vote on October 17th. She lays out a compelling case for yes – you can read more at https://helenclark.foundation/reports/the-case-for-yes/

 

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. The status quo is unacceptable, and this paper seeks to ask how we can do better.

Download Helen Clark Foundation Report

Cannabis – Just Say Yes

Cannabis – Just Say Yes

Opinion piece from a Concerned Voter

It’s OK to hate cannabis. It’s not OK to vote no.

Cannabis isn’t my buzz. My personal experiences of lighting the dried plant wrapped in paper on fire and inhaling have been limited. And I choose to keep it that way. But that doesn’t mean I’m voting No on October 17th… and neither should you.

What I’ve come to realise is that my personal experiences with cannabis aren’t up for debate in the referendum. They shouldn’t be deciding factors on which way I vote. I’ve also come to learn that what most people know about cannabis is a muddy mix of outdated myths and propaganda that came out of the United States’ War on Drugs. (If you haven’t watched the documentary 13th, it’s time).

It might seem counter-intuitive that someone who doesn’t like cannabis is going to vote to make it legal. But after a few minutes of reading about the benefits of control and regulation from legalisation versus a slap-a-conviction-on-everything approach that targets vulnerable communities, I realised that voting no is the real counter-intuitive option.

Not sold? Let me explain.

From an early age, my instincts were strong – weed isn’t for me. With a brain naturally inclined to anxiety and overthinking, I thought it was best not to go too far down the green rabbit hole. Especially with a spotted family history of mental illness, a giggle didn’t seem worth the risk of opening myself up to new mental spirals.

I’ve tried it. The first time wasn’t bad. The second time was less great. And the third attempt left me anxious and watching a gardening show and napping until the effects had passed. It’s not for me. Nothing is worth more anxiety.

But when I look around me, many of my friends enjoy cannabis regularly – some every day to help with their anxiety, some to chill out, some because they like it more than drinking. To them, cannabis is completely normal.

My friends don’t use cannabis to be cool. There is no “peer pressure” between us.  If anything, these days, choosing sobriety from drugs and alcohol is often admired and seen as far more cool. The reality of cannabis is that day-to-day, it’s not seen as a big deal.

But I still see a lot of people with vulnerable minds like me heavily using cannabis, mostly self-medicating for anxiety and depression. I remember friends in university who became introverted and unmotivated from smoking weed all the time. It’s hard to warn friends about the links between cannabis and mental health issues without sounding like an out-of-touch nay-sayer. While it makes sense that young people are set on reducing the stigma around cannabis, it makes it hard to talk about the few– but very real –negative effects.

But as I said before – these are actually all reasons to vote yes to legalise cannabis.

If I think cannabis is risky to mental health – I should vote yes so we let our young people learn about the risks in school. Taxing the sale of cannabis will fund education and support programmes (not to mention add millions maybe billions –yes, billions– into our battered economy).

If I think cannabis messed up few friends in university – I should vote yes so that people who abuse cannabis can reach out for help instead of feeling ashamed or afraid. They aren’t criminals.

If I’ve been able to decide for myself from experience that I don’t like cannabis – I should vote yes to allow other adults to freely choose for themselves, the same way they do about alcohol or smoking. And I can’t use mental illness as an excuse to criminalise cannabis.

And then there’s the bigger picture. Instead of focussing solely on what legalisation would change, it’s important to look at what problems prohibition is currently causing. It’s about the broader panorama of what a system that criminalises cannabis means for New Zealand’s police force, legal systems, justice system. It’s about crime and politics and power. It’s about racism ingrained in our systems. It’s about our identity as a nation.

In the meantime, 80% of New Zealanders continue to try cannabis before age 25. Māori are three times more likely to be pulled over, charged, and convicted for the exact same cannabis crime that Pākehā get a slap on the wrist for. And while we know that young people should steer clear of cannabis while they are getting to know their developing minds, we don’t talk to them about cannabis in an effective way. 

Voting yes means acknowledging the very things you don’t like about cannabis — whether personal or societal — and putting a system in place to manage them more effectively. Legalisation would involve potency limits, regulated retail locations, taxation, competitive prices (compared to the illicit market), no advertising, education campaigns, funding for addiction issues.  Isn’t it enough that the director of the 40-year study on the effects of cannabis in New Zealand has told us to vote yes?

I like to think that in New Zealand we can be smarter than voting based on moral hang-ups, or even our likes and dislikes.

Join me in stepping back and looking at the bigger picture.

When your marker hovers over the yes or no boxes, I hope you remember that it’s not a tick for what you like, it’s a tick for the future you want our country to have. 

 

Are you enrolled? Your Grandparents are!

Are you enrolled? Your Grandparents are!

ARE YOU enrolled, if you are under 24 there is a chance that you are not.  We also know that there is a very strong chance that your Grandparents are. 

Nationally 64% of 18-24’s vs 96% of those in the 55+ age group are enrolled.

If you are in Auckland Central then you really need to enrol.  You can check out enrollment numbers by electorate at Elections.nzol!

Enrol at vote.nz