Category: Featured

13 posts

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”.

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

20 Reasons to Vote YES

20 Reasons to Vote YES

Here are 20 great reasons to vote Yes for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill in New Zealand’s 2020 referendum.

  1. Tax revenue
  2. Freed up police time
  3. Accessible, affordable medicine
  4. R20 age limit
  5. Potency limit 
  6. Quality assurance
  7. Current laws failing 
  8. Sales only in licensed premises
  9. Use at home or licensed premises only  
  10. No advertising 
  11. Purchase limit
  12. No drug driving
  13. Free choice for adults
  14. Reduced illicit market
  15. Less harm than alcohol
  16. Economic growth and jobs 
  17. Home growing 
  18. Education and healthcare
  19. Fewer people in prisons
  20. Fewer people with convictions 


Weighing up the cannabis referendum – is the current law working?

Weighing up the cannabis referendum – is the current law working?

By Nándor Tánczos
Trustee, Make It Legal Aotearoa New Zealand


When it comes to cannabis, I think most New Zealanders want more or less the same things.

We don’t want young people using cannabis. While the evidence is clear that most people use cannabis without problems, the few that do almost always started young and use heavily.

We want those people that do have drug problems to be helped rather than punished. Currently places in drug treatment services are hard to get, and almost non-existent outside of the main centres.

We don’t want to be wasting police time on arresting adults for simply enjoying cannabis. Freedom for adults to make their own decisions is a basic value, as long as they are not harming other people or putting other people at risk.

This September New Zealanders will get to vote on how best to achieve those outcomes. We can stick with how things are now, or move to a regulated market. The regulated model on offer is an improved version of Canada. It has a lot of carefully thought-through details so please do have a look at it. Consider both choices, to see which gets us closer to our goals. Have a look at what the independent research tells us about how best to manage cannabis.

When it comes to young people using cannabis, it has been normalised for decades. Cannabis is widespread and easy for young people to get hold. The Christchurch and Dunedin longitudinal studies at the University of Otago have given us some of the best evidence in the world around cannabis use. Their summary of the research can be found at They show that around 80% of New Zealanders have tried cannabis by age 25. While most people use cannabis without harm, a small number do experience problems. These are people who started young and use heavily.

We cannot stop young people using cannabis entirely, just as it is impossible to stop them drinking alcohol. We can make it more difficult for them to get hold of though. Having an age limit helps. In Canada, according to official Government figures,

“… use among Canadian youth has not increased. This accords with the Colorado experience—the first to legalize non-medical cannabis…. (while) use among 15- to 17-year-olds declined (19.8% to 10.4%).”

Statistics Canada

Being illegal means no controls, no age limit. It brings young people who do try cannabis into contact with a criminal underworld. Regulating the market by making it R20 won’t stop young people trying cannabis entirely, but it will make it harder for them to get into a pattern of risky use.

For the small number of people who do end up having problems with cannabis use, we need better drug education and drug treatment services. The economist Shamubeel Eaqub has estimated that we need another $150 million spent on drug treatment to meet current needs. The potential tax from cannabis sales (estimated at between $250 million to almost half a billion dollars) has been ring-fenced for drug harm reduction.

Finally, most people do not want to see their friends and neighbours being arrested for simply enjoying cannabis. We still arrest thousands of people a year for cannabis use in NZ, and there are even people in prison for growing their own. That is not usually any of the lawyers, doctors or accountants who enjoy cannabis. They rarely get searched by the police and if they do, get off with a warning. It is most likely to be someone poor and brown, for whom a cannabis conviction and fine can be life-destroying.

Arresting people for cannabis doesn’t stop them using it. In fact research shows that people are MORE likely to use it after being charged. The only people who the law inhibits from using cannabis, the only people for whom regular use goes up after legalisation, are the over-65’s. Perhaps this is because they now feel ok about trying it as a medicine for those aches and pains. Maybe it is because they have worked hard all their lives and deserve to enjoy a relatively benign recreational drug that makes them laugh.

And who could have a problem with that?

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.

A Bill to vote YES on…

A Bill to vote YES on…

The Cannabis Leglaisation and Control Bill has been released. This is the Bill that you will be voting on.

At the general election, on your ballot paper, will be a question:

Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

You can choose 1 of these 2 answers:

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

The Bill is summarised in this infographic:

More information can be found here:

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.