The Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) NZ Coalition which is leading the NO vote against cannabis legalisation in the
upcoming referendum has released a new report Lessons From Cannabis Legalisation 2020
, a comprehensive study of the data outcomes in ‘legalised’ marijuana states in the U.S., and recent developments since
legalisation in Canada and Uruguay, the only two countries in the world who have legalised recreational cannabis use.
This study, validated by researchers from institutions such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins University and using
governmental data and the latest peer-reviewed studies, finds that the U.S. states that have legalised marijuana are
witnessing rising use rates, thriving black markets, and harms among disadvantaged communities. This is also the early
evidence from Canada and Uruguay.
“This report which has almost 250 references will serve as an eye-opener for the New Zealand public and gives very
persuasive evidence for voting no in the referendum. The legalisation of marijuana has had significant costs both
fiscally and in terms of social and health harms. It is clearly evident that cannabis legalisation is a failed policy,”
says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.
The report highlights research showing that cannabis - which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades -
is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In U.S. states that have already
legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, costs that far outweigh
tax revenues from cannabis, and sustained marijuana arrest rates. These states and also Uruguay and Canada have seen a
black market that continues to thrive, and tobacco company investment in cannabis.
“This report moves past the spin from cannabis industry proponents who want to normalise and profit from drug use in our
communities. At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise
a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?” says Mr Ironside.
The report is produced by the SAM-NZ Coalition, in conjunction with research from Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) in
Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ) is an alliance
of community organisations and leaders in New Zealand (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction
counsellors, health professionals and community workers) who oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis, based on reputable
science and sound principles of public health and safety.