Cannabis opinion polls

Surveys have shown an increasing number of people do not believe cannabis should remain illegal. Public opinion does not support aggressive law enforcement aimed at cannabis users.

August 2017 – Poll shows growing support for cannabis law reform

Total supporting legalising or decriminalising cannabis:

  • For personnel possession – 65 percent
  • Personal growing – 55 percent
  • Growing for friends – 26 percent
  • Pain relief – 78 percent
  • Terminal pain relief – 81 percent
  • Selling from a store – 34 percent.

29 August 2016 – UMR poll shows overwhelming support for medicinal cannabis law change:

“Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that patients have safe legal access to affordable medicinal cannabis and cannabis products when prescribed by a licensed doctor?”

76% YES
12% NO

“Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that natural cannabis and medicinal cannabis products are treated as herbal remedies when used therapeutically?”

61% YES
24% NO

15 August 2016 – NZ Drug Foundation-Curia poll finds majority backs law change:

64 percent of respondents think possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use should be either legal (33%) or decriminalised (31%), with a minority (34%) in favour of retaining prohibition.

“This is the first time we’ve seen such a strong majority in favour of reforming New Zealand’s drug law. This tells us voters are ready for change even if law makers aren’t,” said Ross Bell, NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director.

Here are the statements that were put to callers:

“I’m going to read out a range of activities relating to cannabis. For each activity can you please tell me whether you think that activity should be legal, or illegal and subject to criminal penalties or illegal but decriminalised which means it is an offence punishable only by a fine, like a speeding ticket and there is no criminal record. So the three choices are legal, illegal or decriminalised.

  • Possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use
  • Growing a small amount of cannabis for personal use
  • Growing a small amount of cannabis for giving or selling to your friends
  • Growing and/or using cannabis for any medical reasons such as to alleviate pain
  • Growing and/or using cannabis for medical reasons if you have a terminal illness
  • Selling cannabis from a store.

Cannabis opinion poll August 2016

12 April 2016 – TVNZ poll shows “the majority of New Zealanders are now in favour of the use of medical marijuana.”

The latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll asked “Do you support or oppose the use of marijuana for medical purposes?”

Seventy-three per cent of people said they supported medical marijuana use, 21 per cent opposed it and six per cent were unsure.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he’s not surprised by the results.

“I think that’s about where I think public opinion is and in fact I would’ve voted ‘yes’ in the poll too,” he says.

31st March 2016 – UMR poll in response to Helen Kelly’s unsuccessful application to use medicinal cannabis:

UMR polled 750 people on cannabis issues:

  • 72% support the use of marijuana for medical purposes
  • 13% oppose the use of marijuana for medical purposes
  • 46% support the legalisation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use
  • 46% oppose the legalisation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use

The UMR poll shows Kiwis want medical cannabis by more than 5:1 compared to those who oppose it. Support for cannabis “legalisation” has increased dramatically since UMR last asked the question 20 years ago. However while this latest poll shows an even split between law reformers and prohibitionists, we believe that if the contradictory poll question actually made sense, then we would see a different result showing even greater support for cannabis law reform.

On 28 June 2014, the New Zealand Herald reported “Most people want to see cannabis either made legal or decriminalised”:

The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows just under a third of those polled thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction, while a fifth went further and said it should be legalised.

While most National Party supporters (53.8 per cent) favoured the status quo, almost 45 per cent supported legalisation or decriminalisation.

Labour drug and alcohol spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said there was a growing mood for reform.

Greens drug and alcohol spokesman Kevin Hague said the poll results reflected the fact that most people had smoked cannabis.

“And for most New Zealanders, it is evident that the current law isn’t working. It’s causing harm rather than solving it.”

New Zealand First favours a citizens-initiated referendum, while the Act party would opt for a conscience vote if the issue came up in Parliament.An Internet Party spokesman said while there was no official policy yet, strong feedback to the party favoured decriminalisation – a position that leader Laila Harre personally supported.

A Campbell Live survey on 16 April 2014 found 84 percent of respondents said yes “it is time to decriminalise cannabis for personal use”.

In July 2013 TV3’s 3rd Degree reported 98% of respondents agreed medicinal cannabis should be allowed.

On 22 May 2013 TV3’s The Vote debated cannabis law reform and found “Viewers voted overwhelming in favour of decriminalisation, with 72 percent voting yes and just 28 percent voting no.

TV3’s Campbell Live Mon, 26 Sep 2011, asked viewers “Should cannabis be decriminalised?” and 72% replied yes by text or email.

A TV3/TNZ poll from November 2006 found 63 per cent of respondents support legalising marijuana for pain relief.

A pre-election Sunday Star-Times poll on September 4th, 2005, showed 37% support for “decriminalisation” of cannabis, and 55% opposition. Among the new generation of Kiwis – voters aged under 30 – support was at 45%.

A UMR Insight poll of 750 people aged over 18 published in The Dominion in August 2000 found sixty per cent of New Zealanders favour law reform. 41 per cent want to decriminalise cannabis, and an additional 19 per cent want cannabis legalised.

  • The strongest support came from Green Party voters, with 79 per cent in favour of law reform. 67 per cent of Labour voters favour changing the law, as do 65 per cent of Alliance voters and 56 per cent of ACT voters. National voters were 54 per cent in favour of law reform.
  • Support for a law change was strongest among high income earners, with 67 per cent of those on $50,000 to $70,000 a year in favour.

A One News/Colmar Brunton poll in April 2000 also found support for decriminalising cannabis had grown since their last poll. Of those surveyed 55% approved law changes, while 40% were opposed.

A TV3/CM Research poll in 1996 found that 88% favoured introducing instant fines for small-scale cannabis use, 65% favoured “decriminalisation” and 35% supported “legalisation”.

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