By NZ Drug Foundation

The cannabis referendum result was released today with 46.1% of New Zealanders voting in favour of legalisation, and 53.1% against. The gap will likely close to some degree when remaining votes are counted, but the jury is still out on whether it can close entirely.

However, even those who campaigned for a ‘no’ vote publicly accepted that cannabis use should be treated as a health and social issue, and decriminalised.

“Although a majority of New Zealanders did not vote for the proposed model of legalisation, the debate has shown a clear public desire for legal change in some form” said the Chair of the Drug Foundation, Tuari Potiki, today.

The Drug Foundation notes the strong mandate for decriminalisation that has been evident in public debates on the referendum and calls for an end to criminal penalties for those who use cannabis and other drugs, and for those who grow small quantities of cannabis at home for personal use.