Waatea News Column: NZ says it’s happy with racist drug laws? Say it ain’t so!


The preliminary cannabis referendum results have just come in and with over 480 000 specials still to be counted, 46% have said yes to cannabis reform while 53% said they were happy with racist drug laws.

Cannabis reform isn’t just about companies selling product and the tax to be made, it’s a civil rights issue because we know in NZ that Māori are disproportionately penalised by prohibition.

Our cannabis laws are racist and the stats back that up.

It is an enormous progress that 46% of us don’t believe we should have openly racist drug laws, it’s a tad concerning that 53% do.

The referendum can still be won on the specials if reformers win 67% of the remaining vote.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

We will know in a week if the majority of New Zealanders think racist drug laws are fine.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. No Zealand is happy with racist migrant colonists supporting the racist drug laws, as well as driving down wages and raising accommodation costs…

  2. And illicit pill taking at concerts will soon be tested courtesy of our government to reduce deaths and over doses but all cannabis growers and smokers are nothing but crims, pull the other one.

    • Time will tell CiP.
      I think the mistake was to hold a referendum re Pot at the same time as a second pass by labour after years of manipulative Natzo neoliberals holding us all to ransom by withholding truths and facts for profits, private prisons and police budgets who could blame some of us for being cautious
      Also; testing illegal recreational drugs is a giant leap forward in our evolution as a modern, civilised people no matter how seemingly hypocritical it appears to be at this point.
      Pills taken which are nothing more than a lucky dip at best where no one really knows what the fuck they’re taking are extremely dangerous while we all know that a lethal level of Pot is a 5kg bag of it dropped on your head from a ten story building.
      I think being able to test chemicals/pills that promise a good time which might instead kill a person is fabulous and forward thinking and generally hugely comforting to this fellow because it does indeed show just how fresh and modern our Labour Government actually seems to be.
      I’m very excited about how the next three years will evolve.

  3. Like many people, I was stunned, and upset with the Former Justice Minister Little negative reply about pushing for reform of the Cannabis Laws, and for many people — especially the For voters (who seem to be Labour/Green voters) this was a betrayal…
    My gut feeling is that after the special votes are confirmed it will be 49% For – 51% Against (a different of about 40,000 voters at most) —this is simply too big to ignore…If Labour does, then watch as it’s share of the vote falls over in 2023…National could win it (the 2023 election) by simply taking Cannabis out of the Crimes Act, and associated laws…as well as not being too ‘silly’…I hope this does not happen

  4. Now imagine if the referendum was for medicinal and decriminalisation? Would’ve easily passed. And here we are, back to square one.

  5. Re racism. Ok. I get it.
    You’re right, not that you need to be told.
    16.5 % of AO/NZ’s population are Maori while Maori make up 50% of the prison muster.
    NZ Drug Foundation figures here.
    “Despite Māori making up 15 percent of the population, Māori aged 17–25 make up 37 percent of those convicted of possession and/or use of an illicit drug or drug utensil.”
    No wonder then that the natzo’s wanted to push private prisons onto us.
    Check out these fuckers?
    The Guardian.
    Serco: the company that is running Britain

  6. I voted “yes” in the cannabis referendum and I was stunned at the misinformed negative-based propaganda that came through on it on a daily basis especially through main-stream media. So-called experts (what a joke they are) banged on about the harm cannabis does and it being a crime-driver when the opposite is true. There may well be some harm caused by cannabis, as there is with lots of other legal and illegal drugs but overall it is not harmful especially when compared to alcohol and drugs like methamphetamine, not to mention cigarettes.

    Also, “cannabis is not a crime driver”. This is a direct quote from a retired Police Officer I spoke to. He did a lot of drug investigations. He shook his head in disbelief when ex-cops who never did any specialist drug work came out with those comments in their attempts to influence the public to vote “no” in the referendum. He made the relevant point that the ex-cops were all “piss-heads” (his words) and heavy smokers in their day and either still are or, like reformed smokers – they preach to the world the evils of cannabis which they know nothing about but they never complain about the harm alcohol and cigarettes cause in the community.

    But, with all this negativity flying about I think 46% “yes” in the referendum is a very good result especially before the special votes are counted, so fingers crossed.

    However, I agree with @Off White. Maybe the referendum should have been less in-your-face and more user friendly with the question being whether people supported “decriminalisation” rather than legalisation because it is a health issue and not a criminal issue. If there was support for that, which I believe there would be, then that would lead into the next step at the appropriate time to re-introduce legalisation of cannabis. In the meantime, the cops will continue to harass and arrest people, especially young people with small amounts of cannabis. Pretty rich when lots of cops smoke cannabis and take other illegal drugs.

    In the meantime, the ” no” voters will be clapping their hands with glee at the referendum result and toasting themselves with yet more alcohol and cigarettes, which will also numb their despair that their favourite National party got cleaned out in the election. I think after the special votes come in National might lose another couple of seats. Maybe the “no” voters will then turn to cannabis because the alcohol and cigarettes will not be enough.

  7. The referendum outcome was disappointing but it was not binding anyway. I think it should be used as motivation for more real evidence being shared and that of the ‘nopers’ more carefully scrutinised because much of it is based on “common sense” purported by nope advocates such as Family First and funded by the conservative religious right from the US (even though several states in the US are already legalised).
    I really wonder if people who have never used the drug should be able to comment on it’s use and to stop others from using when they know it helps them get through their day.
    In addition, the voice of the ‘dopers’ was not that well articulated and their rational presentation of the evidence didn’t sway voters the same way that ridiculous claims of the nopers did. The nopers seem to forget that EVIDENCE shows use dropping after initial increases following legalisation and that longer term these usage crops are more evident.
    I was initially really upset by this outome (referendum) then realised that the non-binding nature of the referendum meant that even a doper win would mean immediate change. I beleive that Labour have the mandate for change – because how much of the 54% NO have never used the drug previously?
    Frustratingly from a Labour supported perspective, they have the numbers in government to make changes if they choose – especially with Green support … therefore they really have no excuse not to start making incremental changes but applying some of the recommendations sooner than later, with an eye for full legalisation in the next term – should they get the numbers to do this. It really didn’t help that the MZ Medical Association was formally against legalisation until the week before the election and our wonderful leader. Ms Ardern, was really cagey about where she stood – again not making this clear until just before the election by which time many may have already cast their votes.
    Therefore, I don’t think a loss was a loss in the normal sense of the word, rather a wake-up call for the dopers to get their ducks in a row for next time and for the new government to implement some changes recommended.

  8. I agree with you Bob…by Friday, with the Special Votes — the calls for change, and for Labour to do something meaningful with the Cannabis Laws will get louder…and beware if nothing is acted on

  9. The Gangs such as the Head Hunters and the Mongrel Mob will be rubbing their hands together with glee with the results of the Marijuana Referendum. Also the Asian Crime Syndicates which are funnelling P into NZ and distributing through the local gangs will be over the moon with the Referendum Results. Prohibition only channels more money into the pockets of the gangs and the Asian Drug Cartels. And that is a FACT !!!

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