2017 Campaigns and Projects

NORML New Zealand is a society incorporated in 1980, with formal and informal local branches, social media groups, and a national executive. Our annual conference sets policy and campaign objectives. We encourage you to join the NORML Facebook group to stay up to date with our discussion and activism:

NORML’s Campaign Themes:

  • There are too many smokers to arrest: one in ten adults!
  • Cannabis should be a health issue, not a crime
  • There should be a regulated, adults-only, taxable market for low risk substances like cannabis
  • One in twenty New Zealanders use cannabis medicinally – people need safe, legal and affordable access (to natural cannabis as well as refined products)

A broad, non-partisan campaign is needed. There is now very strong public support for law reform. We don’t need to convince absolutely everyone, but we do need to mobilise the public support we already have. Medicinal cannabis is the most urgent aspect of law reform, and opens minds and changes attitudes.  It is worth noting that medical came first in every US state that has made cannabis legal. Medicinal cannabis is high on the media agenda and it will continue to feature heavily in media coverage this year.

Some of the campaigns and projects NORML is working on this year:

  • It’s election year: we will promote understanding and discussion of sensible cannabis policies including the Green Party, the Cannabis Party and others.
  • There is a review scheduled of the offense provisions in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 – we will be ready to help with submissions, promoting proportionality and innovation.
  • The 26th Annual J Day is Saturday 6 May 2017. NORML coordinates nationwide events and supports local organisers with promotion and advice.
  • New Zealand’s first National Medicinal Cannabis Conference – NORML is scoping support and feasibility for this.
  • Follow-up poll to our 2016 UMR poll. We would like to repeat the questions every year to map trends, as funds allow.
  • Damian O’Connor’s medicinal cannabis private member’s bill could be drawn any month so we need to be ready. We will Lobby MPs to support it.
  • Rose Renton’s medicinal cannabis petition will be presented to the Health Select Committee in April.
  • Sue Grey is leading a legal challenge against the Ministry of Health to stop unlawfully treating cannabidiol as a controlled drug requiring special approval, when it is a prescription medicine that any doctor can prescribe. NORML is providing assistance, including recruiting patients, caregivers and other interested parties as plaintiffs.
  • NORML is also considering legal action against Health and Customs to reconsider their incorrect position that no cannabis product can be “lawfully obtained” from the USA.
  • We will continue to lobby to amend Section 22 of the forty-year-old Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977, so that it allows rather than prohibits doctors from prescribing medicinal cannabis.
  • Pressure health officials to revise their guidelines for prescribing cannabis, to make safe legal access easier for both patients and doctors.
  • Ask Pharmac to subsidise medicinal cannabis products (as it did with Herceptin and Keytruda) and/or subsidise individual patients who have obtained legal approval.
  • Promote treating medicinal cannabis as a herbal remedy, not a pharmaceutical. If the new Health and Supplementary Products Bill becomes law we will ask the Director-General of Health to declare raw natural medicinal cannabis to be a herbal remedy.
  • Provide support for health practitioners so they can better respond to patient needs. This will include developing an information pack for practitioners and running an information booth at the North Island GP Conference, 10-12 June in Rotorua.

NORML’s other ongoing activities include:

  • Annual Conference – usually June or November
  • Printing new leaflets and stickers for free distribution
  • Website overhaul and increasing our social media presence
  • 26th Annual J Day on Saturday 6 May 2017. NORML coordinates nationwide promotion and supports local organisers
  • NORML Bustline (09-3025255) providing support and advice for victims of prohibition
  • NORML Awards – nominations and awards
  • NORML Grant Programme – quarterly assessment of grant applications
  • Support the work of effective activists or groups not aligned to NORML, with mentoring advice and resources
  • Fundraising programmes as required

Local branches, online groups and individual activism

Consider forming a local NORML branch if there isn’t one in your area (please contact us for more information). Branches are more effective than working alone, are provided with campaign materials and can apply for part-funding of local projects.

Local groups have their own activities, as well as taking part in the campaigns and projects listed above. These may include local letter-writing campaigns, stalls at local events, fundraising raffles, and so on.

A lot of activity is now on social media. We encourage you to join the NORML facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/normlnz). While social media has become an incredibly useful organising tool, it is important that activism takes part in the real world and is not confined to an online bubble.

With opinion polls showing almost 80% support for medicinal cannabis, and 60% support for wider legalisation, there is no reason to be afraid to bring up the topic with your friends, family, club members or coworkers.

Whatever you do, make the most of your efforts!

We are NORML people. We show courtesy, integrity, perseverance and self control towards all.

Don’t act alone. Form a local NORML support group – unity is strength. Share it. Support those who “go public”. Build on the work of those who have gone before you.

Be consistent. Promote and use our campaign themes (above).

Build relationships with your local media, other advocates, community leaders and local politicians. Do it in the real world, not just online.

Everyone can do something – write a letter, share our posts on Facebook, give NORML a donation, sell NORML raffle tickets, hand out leaflets, put up signs, help with stalls, vigils, Court support or protests. Become a member. Sign up at J Day!

Here are some more ways you can help:

  • Make a donation to keep us working.
    ASB “NORML NZ Inc” 12-3057-0594667-00. Setting up an automatic payment is a great way of supporting our work! You can also donate using PayPal (norml@norml.org.nz).
  • Run stalls or hand out leaflets at events in your area.
  • Get our leaflets into local stores, clubs or doctor’s surgeries and keep them topped up.
  • Ask your MP for help to end the “War on Drugs” / change the 42-years-old Misuse of Drugs Act. Sending an email is easy. But if you want to be taken seriously, send a proper letter or visit in person. Be polite and reasonable. Let us know how they respond.
  • Get on the electoral roll and vote for parties and local candidates that support cannabis law reform (Ph 0800 800 610 or go to any post office).
  • Write letters to the local paper or leave comments on their site – it is vital that we all respond to any cannabis-related articles. Send us a copy of local media coverage so we know what’s going on.
  • Ring talkback radio – using a nom de chanvre if you prefer.
  • School up! For answers to common questions, opinion polls, key facts, policy notes and a directory of NZ media see our Library section.
  • Learn your civil rights and teach them to your friends. Hand out leaflets at court or local events.
  • Talk to your family and friends. A great reply to any ‘reefer madness’ claims that anyone makes is ‘even if that were true, how has prohibition helped?’ Lobby any groups you belong to (such as environmental groups, sports clubs, church groups, Rotary, etc) to pass a motion supporting cannabis law reform.
  • Like us on Facebook. Join our Twitter feed (@normlnz) and check out the official NORML NZ website www.norml.org.nz for heaps more information.

Do any of these ideas and projects specifically appeal to you?
Or do you have skills, contacts or advice related to what we are doing?
We would love to hear from you!

Please contact us if you would like:

  • NORML’s free activist introduction pack – for budding activists!
  • Leaflets to distribute into appropriate local stores – and keep them topped up
  • Civil rights leaflets for local Court Support actions
  • To get involved with any of our current projects
  • To be put in touch with other local groups