NORML’s Guide to Cannabis Policies of NZ Political Parties


Cannabis is well and truly an election issue. For the first time ever, most parties now have written policies or have taken a stance supporting reform of some description. There is a lot to consider so to help we have assessed the cannabis policies or public statements of party leaders against NORML’s three core policies:

  • Make cannabis a health issue, not a crime (ie, decriminalise)
  • Safe legal and affordable access to medical cannabis
  • A regulated and taxed market for cannabis

ACT Party

ACT leader David Seymour will vote for Julie Anne Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill and says he would legalise cannabis “tomorrow”. ACT have no written cannabis policy – it went along with former leader Don Brash.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

NZ’s only political party dedicated to legalising cannabis, ALCP would make medical use legal, allow home growing, and license retail sales to adults. Encourage hemp for regional development. Not currently in parliament.

Green Party

The Greens would make cannabis legal for personal use (including home growing), legalise medical cannabis and allow patients and caregivers to grow their own or be prescribed cannabis products, and use overseas experience to determine the best model for legal cannabis sales to adults. Green MP Julie Anne Genter has a medical cannabis bill before parliament.

Internet Party

The Internet Party’s cannabis policy is to legalise medical use, decriminalise personal use, and regulate legal production. Not currently in parliament.

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Jacinda Ardern famously said “absolutely yes” to medical cannabis. Labour says it would legalise medical cannabis in their first 100 days. Labour policy is to treat cannabis as a health issue not a crime, and replace the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Labour MP Damien O’Connor has a medical cannabis bill before parliament.


Mana would legalise medical cannabis, decriminalise personal use, and introduce a legal age limit. Mana are opposed to legal sales to adults. Hone Harawira has called for dealers to be executed. Not currently in parliament.

Maori Party

In public statements the Maori Party say they support allowing medicinal cannabis and personal use, and are open to a conversation about legalisation. Their written policy only says Maori should be allowed access to emerging treatments including medical marijuana.

National Party

National has allowed only minimal progress on medical cannabis, and opposes any law change. Other than an election promise to “crack down” on gangs and drugs, it has no written policy. Cannabis arrests have halved under the Nats.

New Zealand First

NZ First has no written policy but in public statements says it will support legalising medical cannabis, and a binding referendum on wider reforms. Wants a new offense of public intoxication.

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

TOP’s “Real Deal” cannabis policy would legalise use and growing up to 2 plants each, and regulated sales to adults through a system of non-profit clubs. However they have made no provision for medical cannabis, with leader Gareth Morgan calling it a “placebo”. Not currently in parliament.

United Future

Peter Dunne has made some progress on medical cannabis, and UF now supports regulating all low risk drugs including cannabis through the Psychoactive Substances Act. With Dunne retiring, UF are unlikely to make it back into parliament.

For more information see NORML’s website ( or search or site or social media using the hashtag #TokeTheVote., the New Zealand Herald, and Newshub have also produced guides to the cannabis polices of NZ political parties and candidates for the 2017 election – showing we really have made it an election issue.

Make sure you are enrolled to vote, and vote for parties and candidates who will change the law.


  1. But remember that a vote for a party that doesn’t meet the threshold effectively gets redistributed to those that do.
    In other words, for every two votes for ALCP one will go to National.

    • I gave my party vote to TOP and my Christchurch Central vote to ALCP. I decided earlier this year I would NOT vote for a party or candidate who wasn’t for legalizing cannabis.

      Regarding cannabis, here in NZ there are two doors to choose from:
      Door 1. Legalize
      Door 2. Medical use

      The last time a friend (let’s call him “I”) wanted to buy a small amount of cannabis, none was available. “I” called a friend, who called a friend, who could ‘score’. Long story short, “I” acquired cannabis though a lovely young woman, however her large, completely drunken ‘babysitter’ tried to attack “I” – to the point the drunkard had to be held back. “I” was apologized to profusely.

      Making tea-totaled, law abiding citizens into criminals over a flower in their pocket is disgusting. Acquiring cannabis on the black market will eventually force users into a dangerous situation, not to mention the time, petrol and money wasted trying to acquire said cannabis – cannabis which could be of poor quality and adulterated.

      MP’s/candidates invite their constituents to get drunk with them. Also when asked, these same MP’s admit having used cannabis themselves – all the while turning a blind eye to the 6500+ people arrested each year for cannabis offenses

      As someone who doesn’t drink or pop highly addictive prescription drugs – I find the idea of abducting people and throwing them into a cage because they have a dried flower in their pocket absolutely outrageous! A very strange and abstract oppression – the jackboot of ‘the man’ on the freedom loving throat.

      Vote TOP yo’ll~!!!

  2. (1) Bills pronouncement that National will not bring in any further asset taxes, is about as believable as their “No increase in GST” pronouncement of 2008.

    (2) Nitrates in water sources causes cancer in humans. Surprise surprise, there are answers to solving nitrate issues being bandied about just short of the election. But the obvious answer is to reduce cow numbers to a sustainable level, and then role out all the options like fencing and tree planting, BEFORE increasing cow numbers. There is nothing wrong with increasing cow numbers as long as you put in the solutions to the environmental impacts first, instead of the bandaids later. Because later is too late.

    (3) Why has National both attacked Winston on super, and also tipped him off. Could it be that Bill has discussed the possibility of doing a deal, to let Winston become PM.
    And that Bill would resume as deputy PM after the election, which was his comfortable role. And would probably be happy for charismatic Winston, to take over as PM, knowing this could give National another term or two. Paula being relegated to the wilderness, and that this was behind Paula’s panic. She being the loser in this scenario, and since she knew about Winston’s super, she is very likely to have been the leaker. Warning Bill of the coming leak, but because Bill was secretly happy to do the Winston deal, he may have also been behind the tipoff to Winston, that the attack was coming.
    A possible glimpse at Nationals faction interaction action. Who knows, Bill and Winston may already have a hush hush gentlemans agreement sewn up.
    Dirty politics, the Barclay affair, the double dipping, the Saudi sheep bribe, and the $11 billion hole in which Bill is still lying and digging, shows he has the ability to be very very deceptive, in an amiable friendly way.
    In the debates, Bill should be pinned down on his statement that offering Winston the PM role really is off the table, and that Bill would RESIGN from Parliament, were that to happen. It’s all about trust. If Bill can’t give this assurance, it will show the truth to the lie, he is telling NZ. In Bills mind, this is the likely scenario, knowing Winston won’t be able to turn down the planned mafiosa offer – the offer that Winston won’t be able to refuse, what he most wants.

    (4) A vote for Labour, is a vote for generational change, with a fresh PM, who isn’t another rich old grey guy. Labour with the proven economic track record of overseeing the best economic period in NZ since WW2, under Clark/Cullen.
    A vote for National, is a vote for a PM from Muldoon days, and chronic fourth termitus, with bogways for waterways, running a negative scare mongering campaign courtesy of the Aussies (Crosby & Textor).

  3. Look, sally and I support decriminalisation of pot. God knows we smoked enough of it at Uni!! LOL!!

    But the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is taking away support from Labour and the Greens and that is a gross undermining of the strategy to rid ourselves of National. It is NOT helpful.

  4. What is up with Gareth on med pot? The claim that cannabis doesn’t have proven medicinal value is right up there with Joyce’s $11bn hole, as demonstrated by the fact that even the major parties are more progressive on med pot that Gareth. I considered voting TOP earlier in the campaign, but this attitude to med pot was one of the things that turned me off. Another was their crap alcohol policy of raising the age and leaving liquor advertising untouched, totally the opposite of what we need to do. I believe in voting on policy, not strategy, but my vote has gone back from the Greens because of these sorts of questionable TOP policies (sale of public housing is another one).

    If TOP sort their shit out over the next 3 years, and the Greens are looking safe, I may consider a vote to help them get over 5% next election. Close Gareth, but no cigar.

    • The side effects of cannibis are fairly well known – munchies, numbness, ect – non of which has direct ill health effects, not totally I mean you could smoke enough carcinogens to promote cancer but you’d presumably have to smoke a lot because THC isn’t a natural carcinogen. Suspect users would pass out first before hitting the fridge before they could destroy enough human cells to promote cancer. So presumably a medical certificate or prescription isn’t necessary in the wholesale distribution of cannabis. Dr’s have a whole host of more serous prescription side effects to manage.

      Ps I’m not a Dr. But turning Doctors into tinny houses isn’t nessecary.

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