Lack of consensus on cannabis law change

New research shows the majority of Kiwis back a law change on cannabis.

But there's a lack of consensus on what type of use should be legalised, and researchers say more education is needed ahead of a referendum.

A Massey University survey asked more than 6000 people what kind of regulatory regime they would prefer.

If marijuana use was legal in New Zealand, many Kiwis would prefer to grow it themselves.

Chris Wilkins, Associate Professor at Massey University, says this result came as a surprise.

"The most popular option was this home production, with no commercial selling. I think that really reflected the idea that culturally, cannabis cultivation is pretty embedded in New Zealand."

The results of the survey concluded that 27 percent of people surveyed supported home production with no selling allowed.

Another question in the survey revealed that 21 percent thought recreational cannabis should operate in a profit-driven market with light restrictions, such as age limits and selected retail outlets - much like alcohol.

Fourteen percent thought it should also operate in a profit driven market with tighter restrictions such as high taxation - like tobacco.

But a third didn't know or didn't answer the questions, and Mr Wilkins says that shows the public needs more information.

Lack of consensus on cannabis law change
Photo credit: Newshub.

"People haven't really seen a lot of evidence or the pros and cons of different options, and they haven't really been exposed to much."

Some, like Manu Caddie, the Director of Hikurangi Cannabis, want the Government to pass its medicinal cannabis bill before the referendum.

"So we can have the regulations for medical out of the way and that industry up and going by end of next year - it will allow for proper discussion on recreational use, otherwise the two get conflated."

It's legal in at least 20 countries, with Canada just giving the green light last week.

Our national referendum is planned to go ahead before 2020.