A new Horizon Poll has found New Zealand has 540,000 marijuana users including over 70,000 who use it every day.

NORML says this is more evidence in support of it’s campaign theme of “too many smokers to arrest”.

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world, and despite decades of busting people we certainly the highest teenage use rate,” said NORML spokesperson Chris Fowlie. ” There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. How many prisons do prohibitionists want us to build?”

“It’s high time the cannabis trade was regulated and taxed. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a war on our own people, we should regulate and control how it is bought and sold. Cannabis sales taxes could fund better treatment and education, and possibly even lower taxes for everyone.”

The Horizon Poll is below. More information is here while the full tables can be downloaded here (Excel spreadsheet, 39kb).

540,000 using marijuana in past year

18 Jan 12

Credit: US National Archive

540,000 using marijuana in past year

540,000 New Zealand adults, 70,000 a day using marijuana

New Zealand business decision makers are more likely to have used marijuana than the rest of the adult population.

Twice as many have tried cocaine at least once in their lives, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Horizon Research.

However, overall more adults than decision makers have used marijuana in the past year.

Equal numbers (78%) of adult New Zealanders and of business decision makers (manager, executives, business proprietors, self- employed, professionals and senior government officials) think employers should be able to test employees for recreational drug use.

65.9% of decision makers also support drug testing of job applicants and 83% think recreational drug use causes problems in the workplace.

Some 44.4% of adult New Zealanders say they have never used marijuana, 34.5% say they have once in their lives. Among decision makers 42.6% say they have never used the drug, 36% say they have.

10.5% of decision makers are using marijuana once or more a year, compared with 16.9% of the adult population overall. 3.2% of decision makers are using the drug weekly, compared with 2.1% of all adults.

Daily use is 0.6% among decision makers, 2.2% among the total adult population.

The drug use numbers equate to ones from an international study published in the Lancet and reported this month.  That survey covered 15 to 64 year-olds (the Horizon one all people 18+) and found that between 10 and 15% in Australia and New Zealand had used marijuana in the past year.

The Horizon figure for the adult population is 16.9%, with a 2.1% margin of error. The Lancet-reported study found marijuana use rates of 1.2 to 2.5 per cent in Asia, the region with the lowest usage.

The Horizon results indicate about 1.1 million adult New Zealanders have tried marijuana once in their lives, while about  540,000 are using it each year, 259,000 of them every three months or more frequently and 70,408 each day.

Some 15.4% of decision makers have used cocaine once in their lives, compared with 5.7% of the adult population. 0.6% of adults and 0.1% of decision makers say they use cocaine daily.

The Horizon survey also indicates decision makers are higher users of party drugs.

4.4% of the adult population has used them in the past year compared with 6.2% of decision makers.

The results indicate about 140,817 adults are using party drugs once or more a year, with about 41,605 of them using once or more in the past three months.

Do you think employers should be able to test the people working for them for recreational drug use?
All 18+ Business
A. Yes



B. No



Do you think employers should be able to test people applying for jobs for recreational drug use?
All 18+ Business
A. Yes



B. No



Do you think that the use of recreational drugs causes any problems in the workplace?
All 18+ Business
A. Yes



B. No





Results for use of individual drugs by the population and decision makers can be downloaded here.

Results are from an Horizon Research Limited, HorizonPoll of 2,282 respondents aged 18+, weighted to represent the New Zealand adult population at the 2006 census.

Results include sub-sample of 483 Business decision makers. The maximum margin of error on the national sample at a 95% confidence level is +/- 2.1%.

Business decision makers are defined by occupation as business managers, executives, proprietors, self- employed, professionals and senior government officials.

The survey was conducted in August, 2010.

Results are the property of Horizon Research Ltd and may be used with permission.


Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research 021 84 85 76, e-mail goclman@horizonresearch.co.nz