New survey shows nearly three-quarters of Māori support legalising cannabis

A new survey shows nearly three-quarters of Māori support legalising the personal use of cannabis.

With less than 12 weeks to go before the 2020 election and cannabis referendum, the Horizon Research poll found 84 percent believe prohibition has failed to limit cannabis access and use - and 72 percent of Māori say they will vote for legalising the personal use of cannabis.

This compares to overall support for cannabis legalisation at 56 percent, according to a Horizon poll of Kiwis last month.

"Māori understand the opportunities cannabis legalisation will bring - creating jobs and boosting regional economies, while taking a health-based approach to reduce harm," says Paul Manning, CEO of Helius Therapeutics which commissioned the research.

"Also, Māori have been disproportionately affected by criminalisation through prohibition."

As well as if cannabis should be legalised, the poll asked Māori if prohibition is working and whether controls overgrowing and selling cannabis would be better for society.

"On the question of whether prohibition of cannabis was limiting access and use, only 15 percent of Māori said it was. A staggering 84 percent said cannabis is available and used by many New Zealanders, and 1 percent gave no response," Horizon reports.

"On whether respondents believed controls over growing and selling cannabis for personal use would deliver a better outcome for society, 66 percent of Māori said yes, 31 percent supported continuing with no controls, and 3 percent gave no response."

The results came from a sample of 1593 adults representing the New Zealand population, which included 232 adult Māori. The survey was conducted between June 10-14  2020. At a 95 percent confidence level, the maximum margin of error on the Māori sample is ±6.6 percent.

The results match those from a Horizon Research poll last year for the Māori current affairs television show, The Hui. That poll of 620 Māori showed 75 percent were likely to vote for legalising cannabis for personal use in a referendum.