The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has revised its position on the upcoming referendum, stating that it has no official position after it got slammed for not consulting its members.
Association chair Dr Kate Baddock has apologised to doctors who felt their views weren’t represented in a letter published in NZ Doctor.
In the letter, Baddock said: “Every member, however, has the absolute right to vote on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control referendum. The NZMA will have no position regarding the referendum itself.”
It came after a number of doctors spoke in support of proposals to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, with a wide range of views held by the association’s members.
The NZMA’s initial response to the referendum was that it has opposed legalisation since 2012 as cannabis causes a range of health and social harms.
The association is now calling for initiatives to reduce the social inequalities that increase the risk of harm from drug use and meaningful investment into education and treatment programs.