Category: NEWS

108 posts

Instant Industry – A regulated Cannabis industry will create jobs & tax revenue for New Zealand

Instant Industry – A regulated Cannabis industry will create jobs & tax revenue for New Zealand

It makes sense to vote yes in the upcoming New Zealand referendum on the Cannabis Regulation and Control Bill for many social reasons.  Another great reason to vote Yes is to support the creation of an instant industry.   Income from PAYE, GST and Income Tax will increase tax revenue for New Zealand and create meaningful jobs for thousands of Kiwis.

Read more about the Economics of Drug Reform on the Drug Foundation site.

Jobs in retail
Hospitality Jobs – in licensed premises
Back office jobs in accounting, IT, Finance and distribution

Longitudinal studies conclude a YES vote is best for New Zealand

Longitudinal studies conclude a YES vote is best for New Zealand

New Zealand is blessed with two of the world’s richest sources of information about the effects of cannabis use.

The findings of the Dunedin and Christchurch studies both concluded that cannabis should be treated as a health issue not a justice issue and have pointed to the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill as the answer.

University of Otago researchers have drawn from The Dunedin Study and similar Christchurch Health and Development Study, to provide analysis on the effects of cannabis ahead of New Zealand’s cannabis referendum in September.

The findings: Patterns of recreational cannabis use in Aotearoa New Zealand and their consequences: evidence to inform voters in the 2020 referendum have been published in The Royal Society of New Zealand journal.

“The illegal status of marijuana does not prevent most people from using, and arrests and convictions do not lead to a reduction in use, and often see a bias against Maori” states Professor Poulton lead author of the paper.

“I’ve been giving evidence to various health select committees about cannabis use and harms for almost a quarter of a century and raise the same point each time: harms associated with cannabis use should be treated as a health issue, not as a legal issue, with a strong preference for evidence-informed preventive and early intervention approaches but these are impeded by the legal status of cannabis,” Professor Poulton says.

The study is authored by: Richie Poulton, Kirsten Robertson, Joseph Boden, John Horwood, Reremoana Theodore, Tuari Potiki & Antony Ambler from the University of Otago.

The full study can be found at:

30000 Facebook Members – Join Us Now

30000 Facebook Members – Join Us Now

Make It Legal NZ has a very active Facebook presence via the Make It Legal Facebook page.  We have just passed 30000 members.  New Zealanders, who like you, are determined to make cannabis legal in New Zealand.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group please do so, the more members we have the wider our reach and the more people we might move towards an all important Yes vote.

What happens after the votes are counted

What happens after the votes are counted

The referendum is about recreational cannabis only

The core elements of the proposed scheme are:

  • A minimum purchase and use age of 20
  • Confining use to private homes and licensed premises
  • Prescribing conditions for personal growing and sharing
  • Requirements for public health messaging
  • Licensing the whole of the supply chain
  • Restricting marketing and advertising

What happens after the votes are counted?

If more than 50% of voters vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum, recreational use of cannabis won’t become legal straight away. After the election, the incoming Government can introduce a Bill to Parliament that would make recreational use of cannabis legal. This process would include the opportunity for the public to share their thoughts and ideas on how the law might work.

If more than 50% of voters vote ‘No’ in the referendum, recreational use of cannabis will remain illegal, as is the current law.

Medicinal cannabis and hemp will not be affected by the outcome of the referendum. Medicinal use of cannabis will still be allowed if prescribed by a health practitioner and hemp will still be legal.

Draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (PDF 478KB)

Draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (HTML)

Summary of current policy positions (PDF 729KB)

Cabinet paper: 2020 cannabis referendum – draft material for public release (PDF 1.5MB)

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.

NZ will see savings of $6-$13m in cannabis-related court and prison costs

NZ will see savings of $6-$13m in cannabis-related court and prison costs

The New Zealand Drug Foundation have analysed the  latest figures from the Ministry of Justice and they show New Zealand is still arresting, charging and convicting thousands of people every year for low-level drug-related offences.

Criminalising drug use does not work. As the New Zealand Drug Foundation state, “we need to start treating drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one. This will not only save money in the justice and prison system – it will allow those who are struggling with their drug use to get the help they need.”

Vote Yes Stickers

Vote Yes Stickers

The Make It Legal team are dedicated to providing as much information about the upcoming Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill as possible so everyone can make an informed decision and of course ultimately vote YES.

Sometimes the creative department get carried away though and produce posts that are perhaps more abstract than informative.  Here are some of our favourite posts below.  Let us know which one you like best in the comments.

Is that an Iceberg in the sky? Um Yes.
This Pegasus is voting Yes
On election day, be sure to read a book about the universe – then vote yes
Mystical reasons to vote yes include this pyramid and night sky montage.
Another day another pyramid montage
Vector art = Vote Yes.
Not sure if the guy in the middle is completely on board with this one.


We highly recommend celebrating with confetti after returning from your local voting booth.

The paint in this picture matches our logo.

I think this was in a Jamiroquai video?


My guess this is a lava lamp.


I can see a person waiting at a polling booth about to vote Yes.


My thank you card stationary ready to write a thank you card to all my friends who voted yes.  Quill pen slightly out of shot.

This genie is getting out to vote.  Luckily he enrolled online at before leaving his bottle

We asked the team member who made this to at least explain the concept to us – “I like tigers”, was the response.  It is worth pointing out that our entire content team are volunteers.  You can volunteer too.  Please.

This one speaks for itself.  A white clad woman is standing on a cloud, and looking into the distance at her nearest voting booth on election morning – whereupon she will cote Yes.

Again.  Very important.  Remember confetti on election day.  Don’t forget.

A beautiful water lily, sadly unaware that Monet died 100 years ago.

Is this from the original Tron or the remake?

I had to hold the camera really still all night to get this shot.  You better vote Yes.

Ordering confetti. 

You’ve earned a nice rest after getting this far. Well done.  Now how are you going to vote in the referendum?

What the cannabis referendum has to do with Smokefree 2025

What the cannabis referendum has to do with Smokefree 2025

A comment rises continually on our social media and it needs to be put to rest.

It lurches around the comments section a bit like this:
“What about smokefree 2025?”
“But what about smoke free 2025?”
“But aren’t we aiming for NZ to be smoke-free by 2025.”

It rarely has much more substance to it than that. In fact, that lack of substance is a common feature of the ‘Vote No’ comments on our pages.

The spelling and punctuation is always wrong, too. It’s Smokefree 2025. It’s a proper noun. Sure, nobody likes a grammar freak, but they do have their role in helping clarify misinformation.

Looking for a little more substance though?

Well, first, there is the fact that cannabis is not tobacco. Don’t get us wrong – inhaling hot smoke into your lungs isn’t great; but cannabis is not associated with disease in anything like the way tobacco is.

According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, “Overall, the risks of respiratory complications of cannabis smoking appear to be relatively small and to be far lower than those of tobacco smoking.” Conflating cannabis and tobacco is a zombie argument move.

Secondly, Smokefree 2025’s goal is not actually a tobacco-free population. The aim is to get to under 5% of the people using tobacco by 2025. The government knows 0% is impossible.

There is no plan to ban tobacco either. The Health Promotion Agency’s Smokefree 2025 website even has emblazoned on its front page, “It’s not about banning smoking. It’s about taking action against tobacco so that by 2025, hardly anyone will smoke.”

And how has the government taken action? Through regulation. They have increased excise tax, provided huge support for quitting, fully banned advertising, and beaten the tobacco companies by forcing through plain packaging with health warnings on it.

The smoking rate has halved over the past 25 years in New Zealand.

The only thing that the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has in common with Smokefree NZ is that they are both forms of legal regulation.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill states on its first page, “The overarching objective of the regulatory regime is to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use experience by individuals, families, whānau, and communities in New Zealand.”

How will it reduce harm?
● By restricting young people’s (20+) access (drug dealers don’t ask for I.D.)
● Raising public awareness of risks associated with cannabis use
● Reducing the illicit market,
● Ending criminal records for cannabis possession (and their racist implementation),
● Putting controls on potency and quality
● Taxation and a levy raising funds for health and education.
● Health information at the point of sale
● No advertising.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill is a chance to replace a failed system with something that makes cannabis safer. It doesn’t try to pretend cannabis doesn’t exist. It doesn’t create a cannabis market; it puts controls and regulations on the one that already exists. It’s a pragmatic bill.
Find out more about it and cast YES as your vote on September 19th.


Health Promotion Agency (2020). Smokefree Aotearoa 2025

Health Promotion Agency (2020). Facts and Figures

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (2017). The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

Platform Trust Cannabis Referendum Q &A webinar (2020). h

Dear Mum – a letter on cannabis reform

Dear Mum – a letter on cannabis reform

Dear Mum,

I know we don’t always see eye to eye.

But I wanted to TALK about the cannabis referendum coming up.

I know you think cannabis is bad. And that’s OK. But I wanted to explain that prohibition isn’t WORKING… Actually IT’S CAUSING HUGE HARM.

80% of kiwis try CANNABIS, most while young. And 95% of people convicted for cannabis

Continue using it- actually some increase use.

I know that you worried a lot about us when we were young and WHETHER we’d TRIED cannabis. The asnwer is yes, we DID. And we were scared to tell you because you told us you would kick us out if we did. 

You were right, MUM. Some people do have issues with cannabis. It isn’t all munchies and laughing. Well, for me it is. But some people do need help. And right now we don’t have the funding for supporting or educating anyone who does have issues.

I’m asking you to try and be open minded on this one. This vote matters to a lot of people:

Our young maori population who are unfairly treated under the law. Cancer patients who can’t afford a medicinal cannabis prescription. Adults who just want to freely and safely make their own choices.


I’m HERE IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS. But I hope you let go of your fears, take a look at the really simple facts that even JACINDA’S chief scientist is agreeing with (!) And realise a yes vote is smart, safe, and sensible.