21 August 2020  Reports

Considering children and young people in your cannabis referendum decision

New Zealanders will soon be voting on a referendum to introduce a new approach to managing cannabis use.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has written this summary of evidence which considers the unique needs of children and young people to inform voters.

Cannabis use is common in Aotearoa New Zealand. Early and/or regular cannabis use by children, young people or when pregnant, can be harmful. The current approach that criminalises cannabis use is harmful to young people, particularly rangatahi Māori. The aim of the new legislation is to reduce harm, and we outline important considerations for children.

The Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor sums up this referendum stating: “The key question isn’t whether cannabis does harm – we know it does for some users, and not for others. This is true whether we legalise it or not. Rather the vote asks us to decide whether a legal regulated framework will increase or reduce cannabis-related harm”.

For further information, the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor has released an evidence summary on cannabis which can be found here or you can read the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill here.

Download our evidence brief below.