Anti-cannabis campaign Say Nope To Dope has deleted a Facebook post that featured Tiki Taane after the Kiwi musician claimed it was using his personal history with drug use as "clickbait".
A screenshot of the message from the Kiwi wing of the international Smart Approaches to Marijuana organisation attracted attention on Reddit after the 'Always On My Mind' hitmaker responded, making his stance on the upcoming referendum clear.
The post featured a 2016 interview with Taane in which the former Salmonella Dub member revealed he started smoking marijuana at 13 before moving on to stronger substances. In the article, Taane explained he wanted to warn the youth of Aotearoa about the physical, mental and spiritual repercussions of using drugs.
In the caption of the post, Say Nope To Dope said that Taane "went down the drug path and knows how marijuana can be a gateway to harder drugs", including a quote from the article that said the singer became "involved in the gang scene" following his introduction to smoking cannabis.
"I appreciate you trying to use me as clickbait, I'm very flattered," Taane replied in a comment.
"But just so you all know I will 100 percent be voting YES to legalising cannabis."
Say No To Dope campaign spokesperson Aaron Ironside told Newshub the organisation "rejects the idea" that it twisted Taane's words, but accepts that their additional commentary "pointed to an alternative of his personal history with cannabis".
"Namely that his acknowledgement of the damage drug-taking causes during teen years is a compelling reason to vote no," Ironside said.
"Mr Taane explained to us that he did not wish for his Yes campaign story to feature on our Facebook Page, and we were happy to remove it as to avoid confusion and honour his request."
Say Nope To Dope insisted that people who don't agree on the referendum could still be friends.
"This isn't personal - it is about what is best for the young and vulnerable," Ironside said.
One Reddit user claimed far from being motivation to vote 'no', Taane's story was "pretty much an argument for why cannabis should be legalised", partially as it explained how it was selling marijuana that led him to be involved with gangs. The move to legalise cannabis looks to control the production and supply of the drug in Aotearoa, and eliminate the illegal supply chains.
"Once this is over and, knock on wood, the good guys and girls have won, it will be good to be able to have conversations like the one Tiki is being quoted from without the lens of political shit fights and unjust imprisonment, as there is some important stuff there," another Reddit user said.
A third user called the move by Say Nope To Dope an "own goal", saying they should have done their research before choosing a "poster boy" for their campaign.
Taane has been approached for further comment by Newshub.