MCANZ Cannabis Referendum – 2020 Election
MCANZ is disappointed with the failure of the Cannabis Legalization and control referendum to gain a majority for the yes vote in the interim results. However there is a glimmer of hope in how tightly contested the result is, with approximately 480k votes yet to be counted.
The Special votes, which typically lean left, would need to be nearly 70% yes for the referendum to pass, which is unlikely, but in the realms of possibility.
“It is worth noting however that the race is not entirely lost yet and that we are still in with a chance for a yes vote passing,” Says MCANZ Co-Chair and Spokesperson Mark Crotty.
“Even if the Specials dont tip the scales entirely, the Specials will more than likely close the gap, and a narrow win for the No vote is hardly a glowing endorsement of the antiquated Misuse of Drugs Act, which is now clearly showing its age and is not fit for purpose.” Says MCANZ Founder and Treasurer Shane Le Brun.
As a charity, MCANZ has encouraged doctors to get on board with prescribing medicinal cannabis. This has been fraught with issues due to the reluctance of doctors to prescribe and also the cost of the limited range of products in NZ. We are also very aware of the lack of education that has been provided for the medical community, with a large education budget axed due to COVID19. The New Medical Cannabis regime has misfired on the starting line, with the transitional period extended due to the incredibly high standards imposed and parts of the regulations that were broken on launch.
Patients have been left to suffer unnecessarily due to these barriers.
"This is a very disappointing result. This will mean that patients continue to have multiple barriers and accessing this medicine.”
“The referendum was our one chance to overturn the current status quo in NZ.” Says MCANZ trustee and Nurse Nichola Smith.
MCANZ feels strongly that groups with religious ties like Family First and its spawn "Say Nope To Dope" and "Sensible approaches to Marijuana" have provided inaccurate information to the general public and have tapped into the experience of the fact resistant, fear based campaigning from their American lobbyist peers, which in some quarters would be viewed as foreign interference.
The NZMA also contributed to the misinformation, purporting to represent the medical community despite 0 consultation, with NZMA Chair Kate Baddock singlehandedly campaigning for the no vote based on an outdated position circa 2012, which was prior to any country having legalized and generating usefull data of the positive outcomes possible. Dr Baddock has misrepresented the membership of this group to the NZ public, and her stance was weaponized by Family First and its affiliated groups, and only conceded her position was a mistake late in the voting process.
With Labour ruling out introducing the bill this term, MCANZ will advocate for stronger protections for patients, for example stronger protection for patients after the police failed to enact the will of govt where they all but ignored the decriminilization and health approach mandated by the most recent Amendment to the misuse of Drugs Act.