Cannabis referendum: Fact and fiction

Cannabis reform excites intense debate across society, and with New Zealand’s referendum on the legalisation of recreational cannabis just around the corner, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has prepared a podcast delving into the topic.

Professor Jennifer Windsor, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Wellington’s Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, and education, interviews Associate Professor Fiona Hutton from the University’s Institute of Criminology about the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill and what it actually entails.

An expert in alcohol, recreational drug use, and drug policy, Associate Professor Hutton is a proponent of the bill, which she explains arises from a shift in thinking towards a more health-based position around cannabis use. In the podcast, she discusses how legalisation will achieve this shift and whether the bill will be effective in reducing cannabis-related harm to individuals, families, whānau, and communities.

The podcast examines the impact of similar legislation in other countries and how this bill might affect the illegal cannabis market in New Zealand.

Professor Windsor and Associate Professor Hutton also discuss the biggest concerns in making cannabis legally available: the effects on young people; the issues related to drug-impaired driving and cannabis use in the workplace; and the possibility for opening the door to commercialisation. Associate Professor Hutton points to the United States experience in particular to explain her uneasiness around a commercialised cannabis market.

Finally, Associate Professor Hutton sets out the biggest myths she would like to bust around the legalisation of cannabis. She believes the bill “has the potential to be a game-changer for the most vulnerable populations, and it has the potential for having positive harm-reduction impacts amongst cannabis users young and old.”

She would like people to be as informed as they can come September and she asks that people read the evidence, consider the evidence, and vote accordingly.

Listen to the podcast now

The podcast is also available on iTunes and Soundcloud