October 07, 2020
Referendum chance to bring cannabis into light
The head of a medical cannabis company says there is still too much confusion around the referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
Helius Therapeutics has been conducting regular polls on public attitudes to the proposed change, with its latest survey showing the vote is still too close to call.
Paul Manning says it’s a once in a generation opportunity to look at prohibition, but disruption around the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the opportunity for supporters or opponents to state their case.
He says there is already ready access to cannabis through the black market, creating all kinds of risk that have proved impossible to manage under the current regime.
"I view the referendum largely as being an opportunity not to invent cannabis and it is also not going to get rid of cannabis as a plant or a substance but it is an opportunity to bring it into the light so it can be seen, regulated, managed, IDs asked for, quality standards checked, and we have seen that as a successful way of managing these substances here and in other parts of the world," Mr Manning says.
The latest Helius survey conducted by Horizon Research found 64 percent of Maori supported reform compared with 52 percent of Pakeha and 41 percent of Asians, with Green and Labour voters backing it and ACT, New Zealand First and National voters opposed.
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