Cannabis debate: Pro and anti camps agree on drug education - survey

  • 25/01/2019

There's one thing both the pro- and anti-cannabis camps agree on, according to a new survey

That's the need for better drug education, particularly for young people.

The ActionStation survey revealed "huge support" for legalisation of the class C psychoactive, with 81 percent in favour.

Spokesperson Laura O'Connell Rapira says participants were worried about the effect on the younger generation, however.

"We need to make sure there's good drug education in schools, so if we're going to legalise it, all young people are learning about the potentially harmful consequences of cannabis."

Seventy-one percent of participants said marijuana should be regulated and taxed like alcohol, while 78 percent said it should be legal to grow your own.

Slightly more than half said the age of purchase should be 20 or above.

Participants on both sides of the debate want to see money go on education.

"People who agree with legalisation and people who don't, either way they thought if it's going to happen, that money should go towards drug harm reduction," said Ms O'Connell.

Most participants said drugs should be treated as a health issue, not criminal.

"The truth is we're not going to eradicate drugs tomorrow. I think what we saw in the comments is a desire to be smarter and more strategic in the way that we approach drugs."

More than 6000 people took part in the survey, the results of which weren't balanced to match New Zealand's demographic make-up. More than half of participants were female (55 percent), and only 2 percent identified as Asian, despite making up around 12 percent of the population.