Poll reveals 75 percent of Māori support legalising cannabis for personal use

Three's The Hui has revealed the results of a special Horizon Research poll of 620 Māori, providing interesting insights into Māori attitudes towards cannabis.

Seventy-five percent of Māori participating in the survey said they were likely to vote for legalising cannabis for personal use in New Zealand If the referendum were held tomorrow.

That's 15 percent more than a general poll of New Zealanders conducted late last year.

Fourteen percent of Māori said they would vote against, while 11 percent were not sure.

Māori under 55 years are more supportive than those 55 years or over.  

In a lively discussion, The Hui combed over the results with forensic psychiatrist Dr Hinemoa Elder, Tuari Potiki chair of NZ Drug Foundation, AUT senior law lecturer Khylee Quince and social justice campaigner Dr Hirini Kaa.

Twelve percent of respondents self-reported using cannabis every day, a similar result to the overall result for all ethnicities in a 1000-respondent survey of the general population by Horizon Research in October 2018.

Nearly six in 10 Māori 18 and over believe that it should be legal for adults to grow a limited amount of cannabis for personal use. Nearly five in 10 think they should be able to buy cannabis products for personal use from approved retailers, with a third thinking that the legal age should be 21 years.  

Three in 10 think that iwi and other organisations and companies should be allowed to produce cannabis products for sale for personal use and for export.

Four in 10 agree legalising cannabis will reduce crime with a key part of that resulting in fewer Māori being arrested.

Those who say they will vote against legalising personal use of cannabis do so because they think it will be, overall, be harmful to Māori, the health of more Māori will be harmed, and people should not be able to legally grow limited amounts for personal use.

Those who say they will vote for the legalising personal use believe that growing limited amounts should be legal as should purchase from approved retailers, there will be a reduction in organised crime and arrests, there will be no effect on Māori health and there will be an overall benefit to Māori.

The Horizon poll was conducted between February 7 and 16, 2019. At a 95 percent confidence level the survey has a maximum margin of error of ±4 percent overall.

The Hui