Marijuana Media on 95bFM: renewed push for cannabis decriminalisation


Kia ora! Welcome to the first show for 2023 for your weekly weed wrap-up. Marijuana Media peeks behind the hemp headlines every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts Jonny from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from NORML. Here’s this week’s news.

Listen on 95bfm here (opens new window so you can keep reading The Daily Blog)

Revealed: The New Zealand regions with higher conviction rates for cannabis possession (Newshub, 18 Dec)

Cannabis law enforcement is a “postcode lottery” says the New Zealand Drug Foundation, after their analysis of police discretion over cannabis possession showed users were more likely to be convicted depending on where they lived.

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While Police say there are complex socio-economic issues to consider, the analysis of figures from the last five years showed those in the East Cape were three times more likely to be prosecuted than those in Auckland, despite similar rates of use.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub that conviction rates for cannabis possession “have come down significantly” – roughly 50 percent since the 2019 law change. But Sarah Helm of the NZ Drug Foundation said that’s not good enough, with a thousand New Zealanders convicted in the past year.

Sign the petition to decriminalise cannabis and expunge historic convictions at Action Station

The New Zealand Drug Foundation also says it’s “shocking” that 90 charges have been laid for magic mushroom possession in five years given the drug’s relatively low harm profile. While these numbers are dwarfed by those arrested for cannabis (and methamphetamine), it seems over the top to arrest anyone for mushrooms – especially given the police’s discretion and public-health based approach, and the emerging research showing a therapeutic potential for mushies.

Interesting for supporters of law reform, in an article in the NZ Herald the Health Minister Andrew Little said the referendum on legalising the sale, use and production of cannabis was unsuccessful and as a result he does not think they have the social licence to look at decriminalising [any] drugs at the moment. (But does that mean – maybe after the election?)

“The Government is adopting a health approach to dealing with issues of drug use and dependency. This includes giving police discretion over whether to charge people found in possession of illegal drugs for their own use or refer them for treatment, making it legal to provide services checking whether the drugs people are about to take are what they think they are, and expanding the successful methamphetamine treatment programme Te Ara Oranga to the eastern Bay of Plenty.”

This is all good stuff – but it’s not enough. I’m picking cannabis will (again) be an election issue this year. We need to elect a parliament that is truly representative and willing to end the criminalisation of half the country.

Te Hiku cannabis start-up’s push to legalise cannabis by end of 2024 (Northland Age, 9 Jan)

A Far North start-up is hoping to reinvigorate the conversation around cannabis laws, with the goal of introducing incremental policy change followed by full legalisation of recreational use by late next year. This week Te Hiku Cannabis kick-started its campaign. First is a nationwide online poll to gauge support for or against cannabis decriminalisation. Results will be presented at Waitangi on Waitangi Day (February 6). Co-founder Trish Fabling said the group would then campaign to move CBD-only cultivation and product manufacturing out of the Medicinal Cannabis Regulations and into the Industrial Hemp and Dietary Supplements Regulations respectively.

The Te Hiku Cannabis poll is now live. To vote, visit: or

Some good news on the horizon for people who use cannabis for wellness. The long-awaited review of the medicinal cannabis scheme will bring changes in the second half of this year. The changes proposed by the Ministry of Health and signed off by the Minister will greatly help local growers, exporters, manufacturers, and distributors of products – and will see reduced costs and increased choice over time – but it looks like there won’t be any public funding for cannabis meds yet. Feedback is due by 27 January – contact me at The Hempstore for more info.

Coming up: Test your stash at The Hempstore, Sat 21st Jan (thanks to NZ Drug Foundation). J Day this year is 6th May.

Tune in to bFM Drive’s Jonny and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore on Marijuana Media, every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at (or via iTunes / RSS feed).



  1. Keep up the good work Chris. Have supported the various petitions, live in Far North. Te Hiku Cannabis have credible people who have achieved many other things in the community.

    Where did Mr Little’s wowserism come from? Something about Cannabis has certainly got under his skin.

    Legalisation would benefit so many people at such little cost. Numerous start up businesses and associated researchers and suppliers waiting for the “Green” light, people in damn awful pain, people just wanting an enjoyable life without looking over their shoulder for the plods.

  2. Love the marijuana fairy popping up in the midst of the greenery. Do cannabis smokers rate higher on looks than the ordinary bloke? I think we should be pushing for reasonable cannabis legislation that has some reins on it, and we might all look better to each other and wouldn’t that be nice. The world might seem a nicer place for part of the day, and that might be enough for us to get out and try to make those good spots last longer. That’s my pipe dream.

    • And the Pun overload of the day so far Award goes to……
      …your prize is 1kg of Californian gummies

  3. I would have preferred to go to grass 8 years ago in the capital of grass, Gisborne. Except all the dealers I ever see are people who rush up to me and sell me coiled tinfoil. Hence my outlandishly ruddied face from’ t’drink’.

    Gisborne was one of the 2 rural areas which voted for grass. Which should mean an unofficial liberation. Except here is where the police train their new recruits. Fuck over Maori, much?

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