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The latest poll shows New Zealanders' support for recreational cannabis use declined ahead of next month's referendum on the issue.
The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll found that only 35% of respondents said they supported the bill, up from 40% in the June poll. Those who said they didn't support the bill were 53%, down from 49% in June. Another 11% either didn't know or refused to answer.
Other polls had previously shown close voting, neck to neck, too close to be called.
National Chair Judith Collins says the party conference will vote no in the referendum. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has categorically rejected her election intentions despite admitting that she smoked cannabis "a long time ago".
If you're not sure, you have less than a month to go to the vote. Here is a list of the pros and cons of the possible consequences.
Pros: take control
1. Economic growth
Building a legal cannabis industry creates a number of skilled and unskilled jobs. It could generate over NZ $ 640 million in tax revenue for the New Zealand government.
The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing labor markets in the United States. In a year, the Massachusetts cannabis retailers had gross sales of $ 393 million.
Two years after launching a legal cannabis market, California has topped tax revenues of over $ 1 billion.
2. Health not handcuffs
The ban hasn't stopped New Zealanders from using cannabis. Research shows that 15% of men and 8% of women in New Zealand used cannabis over a 12-month period in 2012-13.
Legalizing cannabis could save the New Zealand judicial system a staggering NZ $ 11.4 million a year. Not to mention the social benefit of no longer having to imprison non-violent, otherwise law-abiding citizens who then have to keep a lifelong criminal record.
Māori have a higher rate of cannabis use than non-Māori. Research has shown that Māori are more likely to be convicted of cannabis charges than non-Māori, despite higher consumption rates.
Legalizing cannabis makes its use a health and social wellbeing issue rather than a criminal one.
3. Improves access for health patients
Cannabis is used as therapy for a number of health uses. It has been legally available for medical use in New Zealand since April 2020.
Cannabis is used to treat nausea and vomiting, the most common side effects of cancer treatment. It can be therapy to treat epileptic seizures.
It was used to treat muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis. It has also helped people relieve chronic pain, headaches, and anxiety.
When cannabis is legalized for recreational use, those who use it for medicinal purposes will have better access at a cheaper price.
4. Regulated for reasons of consumer safety
A standard requirement for legalized cannabis markets includes product testing, which means that consumers should know more about the products they use.
Street-bought cannabis can contain fungi, pollutants, mold, and pesticides. Mandatory tests ensure that the cannabis is free of toxins.
To protect children in the United States from exposure to cannabis, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington all have child-safe packaging regulations in place.
Following the New Zealand referendum, retailers selling cannabis to anyone under the age of 20 would face severe penalties. To further deter the youth, the NZ Drug Foundation, which votes yes, is clearly backing the referendum to include advertising bans.
5. Takes money away from street gangs
In the past two and a half years, New Zealand street gangs have grown by more than 30%. The illicit cannabis market, estimated to be worth NZ $ 1 to 3 billion, may fund these gangs to some extent.
In Colorado, USA, 90% of the cannabis market is supplied according to regulations. In the past decade, cannabis seizures from border controls have been lowest, and their value has decreased by millions of dollars.
With cannabis legalized, control of the market is more in the hands of the government than the criminals.
Disadvantages: social and tax
1. Unknown costs to society and taxpayers
The long-term health effects are not fully understood. Similar to tobacco, the negative health effects of cannabis may go unrecognized for decades. Also in Colorado, for every dollar of cannabis tax collected, citizens are spending $ 4.50 to offset the negative effects of legalization.
2. It will turn New Zealand's youth into other drugs
A Christchurch Health and Development study shows adolescent weekly cannabis users are 100 times more likely to use other illicit drugs.
Concerns have been raised about the influence of the cannabis industry on legislative development, as its motivation is profit maximization, not public health.
3. Safety and productivity in the workplace
A 25-year study in Norway shows that workers who use cannabis are less dedicated to their work than those who do not.
In the United States, employee cannabis use leads to an increase in absenteeism, accidents, fluctuation and claims for damages.
4. Bad for the environment
Cannabis plants require twice as much water to grow grapes. Growing cannabis can lead to deforestation, habitat destruction, river diversion, and soil erosion.
When grown hydroponically, the US has annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3 million automobiles.
5. House prices could go up or down
In Colorado, USA, legalization of cannabis has again been found to increase the value of property prices by up to 6%.
A separate study in Colorado found that home prices could rise up to 8.4% if they are within 160 meters of a retail store selling cannabis.
But 42% of Canadians believe a cannabis retailer will negatively impact their home values.
The median property market price in New Zealand recently rose 12% in a year. Further strong growth could force many out of the market.
There are a little over two weeks before New Zealanders vote on the cannabis referendum. If you still can't make up your mind, visit the Prime Minister's Science Advisor website for more information.
Young Australians would use cannabis if it were legal
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Cannabis Referendum Tie: 10 Pros And Cons Of Legalizing The Drug (2020 Oct 1)
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