According to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, New Zealanders now want cannabis to remain illegal.
The public has a chance to vote on whether cannabis should be legalised in a referendum alongside the 2020 general election, however the latest poll showed 52 per cent of New Zealanders intend to vote against legalisation.
Of those asked in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, 39 per cent wanted cannabis legalised, eight per cent did not know or refused to answer and 1 per cent say they would not vote.
The groups of people who were more likely to be for the legalisation of cannabis included Green Party supporters and people aged 18-34.
Those who were more likely to intend to vote against the legalisation of cannabis were people aged 55 and over and National Party supporters.
Drug Foundation spokesperson Ross Bell said there was "a whole lot of myth and misinformation, scaremongering being run over the last few months, which I think has influenced New Zealand's thinking on this".
"I think the Government has tied its own hands, saying this is a referendum for the public and this is not Government policy, which means there is a big vacuum that's been created and currently filled with misinformation."
Mr Bell said once the public receives more information, he expected legalisation would pass at the referendum.
National's Paula Bennett told 1 NEWS she was not surprised at the poll result and felt the public were expressing their concerns as they come to understand what legalisation meant.
She also said legalisation of cannabis did not align with the country's 2025 smoke free-goals.
Green Party drug reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said most New Zealanders had seen the harm cannabis causes "under status quo prohibition".
"This is why we need to develop legal regulation that reduces that harm, which is the conversation I'm focused on having with Kiwis."
Justice Minister Andrew Little released details of the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum last month, which would include a simple yes/no option for voters.
Mr Little confirmed that the referendum will be based on proposed legislation so that people will be able to see what they are voting for.
In the October 2018 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, the results were slightly more in favour of legalisation than against, with nearly half wanting the drug to be legal. Forty-six per cent of Kiwis were in favour of legalisation and 41 per cent were against, 12 per cent were undecided.
In the July, 2017, 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, 47 per cent were in favour of cannabis legalisation, 41 per cent were opposed and 12 per cent did not know.
The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll comes after details of the cannabis referendum Cabinet paper was leaked by National and questions were raised over drug driving tests ahead of the referendum. More than $13 million was also put towards the cannabis legalisation referendum in Budget 2019, "to engage and communication with the public on participation in the participation in the referendum process".
Between June 4 and 8, 1002 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.
In the latest poll, eligible voters were asked, 'A referendum on the legislation of cannabis will be held at the 2020 General Election. Possible new laws would allow people aged 20 and over to purchase cannabis for recreational use. The laws would also control the sale and supply of cannabis. At this stage, do you think you will vote for cannabis to be legalised, or for cannabis to remain illegal?'
A Queenstown man caught with illegal substances in his house has avoided a conviction because they help him deal with chronic pain.
He also escaped conviction for having a military-style semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine.
The man, who appeared in the Queenstown District Court last month, was granted permanent name suppression.
Police smelled cannabis when they went to his home on an unrelated matter on June 22 last year.
A search uncovered an AR15 rifle in a carry bag on his bed, 372g of cannabis in his bedroom and bathroom, 0.1g of MDMA on his dressing table and 0.1g of methamphetamine in his wallet.
A pipe for smoking cannabis was on his bedside table, and a "snuff bullet'' for sniffing cocaine was on the dressing table.
The defendant's counsel, Bill Dawkins, said his client suffered from "massive pain'' as a result of twice breaking his neck.
He took about 1200 painkillers a month to deal with his pain, but they were "not doing it''.
He was a heavy user of cannabis for "medicinal purposes'', but the other drugs in the house were "odds and sods'' left behind by visitors.
The defendant had bought the AR15 legally with his category A firearms licence, Mr Dawkins said. But he later bought the 30-round magazine on the internet, unaware it made the rifle illegal for that licence category.
Although "ignorance of the law excuses no-one'', it was a mitigating factor.
Judge John Brandts-Giesen said he had decided "by a narrow margin'' to grant a discharge without conviction on the grounds the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the seriousness of the offending.
The possession of the AR15 was the most serious charge, but the defendant's explanation was at least partly accepted by the police prosecutor.
He had used it for hunting and to put down deer on a farm, and, like many people, had exploited a "well-known gap in the law'' to pair it with a high-capacity magazine.
In relation to the drugs, an anaesthetist's report stated the defendant was "far better'' when regularly using cannabis, and a legal cannabis substitute was very expensive.
It had been "unwise'' of him to keep the other drugs, which had been given to him by a visitor.
The defendant was "overcoming great odds in order to work'' but by possessing illegal drugs faced the risk of being convicted in the future.
"Section 106 discharges are not given liberally to people, particularly not in a case of reoffending.''
He ordered the destruction of the firearm and the drugs.
The defendant's arrest preceded recent law changes, resulting from the Christchurch mosque shootings in March, which ban military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.
Late last year the Government relaxed laws around the use of medicinal cannabis but new research suggests tens of thousands of New Zealanders are still getting hold of it illegally.
In the first ever online survey into the medical use of the drug, patients say they're frustrated, or feel they can't talk to their doctor about using it.
Shane Le Brun from Medicinal Cannabis Awareness NZ wanted to know what people were using it for.
"One of the things that's really struck me is the number of indications, so medical conditions that people have identified using cannabis for, we're talking probably two dozen," he told 1 NEWS.
Among the early findings are that more than a third of users don't tell their GP they're using the drug and almost 60 per cent of respondents are female.
Cannabis user Shaun Shale wants to see fewer restrictions around prescribing and a regulated market, which would take away several risks such as the drug's strength.
"One of the responses I had from my specialist at the hospital was, 'oh so you're smoking pot and it was in a very derogatory manner,"
The survey runs until the end of July when MPs will be invited to view the research.
The Government is looking for a cannabis expert ahead of next year's non-binding referendum on legalising recreational use of the drug.
Justice Minister Andrew Little revealed earlier this month voters will be presented with draft legislation, which will include a minimum age of 20 to use and purchase recreational cannabis.
The Government is seeking applicants for the role of cannabis referendum policy manager. The advertised salary is $137,479 - $194,088. Applications can be made here: https://jobs.govt.nz/jobs/MOJ-1399820 and close Wednesday 29 May 2019.
If you have any questions please contact BSU_Policy@justice.govt.nz
"If you have proven yourself as a thoughtful manager, people-leader and coach then we want to hear from you," the job description says.
"You will have proven experience at coaching and developing teams and supporting individuals to grow and thrive."
The referendum is expected to include a non-binding question accompanied by a policy framework document of how making it legal would work.
That draft legislation will include:
Horizon polling shows the Government's 2020 referendum on the personal use of recreational cannabis would pass - but the result might be closer than was indicated six months earlier.
The new independent survey of over 1,100 New Zealanders, commissioned by Helius Therapeutics, comes as the Government confirms its commitment to hold a binding referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at next year’s General Election. Cabinet has also agreed there will be a simple Yes/No question, on the basis of a draft piece of legislation.
Horizon Research has been commissioned again by New Zealand's largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, to survey people on their voting intentions ahead of next year’s referendum.
Of those surveyed
Six months earlier, in October, Horizon Research asked the same question, with 60% then saying yes, 24% against, and 16% having no opinion.
Paul Manning, Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics, is not surprised the likely referendum result appears to be getting tighter.
In a statement he says when the first survey was conducted last year, cannabis and its many health benefits were getting a lot of positive air time as Parliament was the debating the medicinal cannabis bill with the broad issue achieving strong support across all political parties.
“Without doubt, the commentary around cannabis has shifted in recent months.
We’re now seeing some concerted scaremongering by conservative groups and others about cannabis being legalised for personal use, complete with at least one questionable poll suggesting hardly anyone wanted it,” says Mr Romana Manning
“Now eighteen months from the referendum we’ve got a comprehensive survey that shows those who support personal use are 15% ahead of those who don’t, while still plenty of Kiwis have no opinion.
“These polls will undoubtedly keep moving around. However, what we do know, after commissioning two large surveys on the topic, is that a majority of Kiwis continue to support legalising the personal use of cannabis. There may have been a lot of political noise in recent days, but that statistical fact hasn’t changed in six months,” says Mr Manning.
Key poll results include:
Referendum vote for legalisation of cannabis for personal use
Most supporters of most parties now in parliament would vote yes
Clear majority in all age groups up to 55 years would vote yes
Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalise "magic mushrooms", based on final unofficial results of a ballot initiative about the hallucinogenic drug.
The initiative called for Colorado's capital to end the imposition of criminal penalties for individuals at least 21 years of age for using or possessing psilocybin, widely known as magic mushrooms.
The Denver Elections Divisions will certify results on May 16, but the final count on its website on Wednesday was 50.56 per cent of voters in favour and 49.44 per cent against.
If the initiative is approved, psilocybin would still remain illegal under both Colorado and federal law.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration classifies the drug as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning the agency has deemed that it has a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical application.
Decriminalize Denver, the group behind Tuesday's ballot question, said psilocybin had a wide range of medical benefits.
It has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and to help in treating tobacco, alcohol and opioid addictions, and with alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the organisation.
Some opponents worry that if passed, the initiative would increase the city's image as a haven for drugs, given that Colorado was one of the first states to legalise possession and sale of marijuana for adult recreational use.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the initiative. But if the measure were approved, she supported formation of a review panel under the initiative to study the effects of the drug and the impact the ordinance would have on Denver, spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said.
Denver residents first voted to decriminalise cannabis possession in 2004, years before Colorado voters ultimately approved its legalisation statewide for recreational purposes, establishing a full regulatory framework to license retail outlets and collect sales taxes on cannabis products.