Category: Featured

18 posts

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”.

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