The upcoming referendum to vote on the legalisation of recreational cannabis for over 20s is currently at a stalemate with polls from Horizon Research finding 49.5% for and 49.5% against. 

The Nationals are campaigning for a ‘no’ result, claiming the Government is withholding a report on the economic impact of legalisation until after the vote. 

While the referendum is non-binding, the current Government is expected to legalise recreational use of cannabis if it’s re-elected on the same day and the vote passes.

National voters are the most opposed, followed by ACT voters. Green supporters are most in favour, followed by Labour and NZ First. 

The polling research, commissioned by medicinal cannabis company Helius Therapeutics, suggests it could come down to who shows up at the October 17 referendum, rather than genuine public sentiment.

Helius chief executive Paul Manning said: “It’s increasingly clear that it will come down to voter registration and election turnout, particularly if younger adults lift their intention to vote.”

Research suggests 18 to 44-year-olds are most supportive of a ‘yes’ vote, while 65 to 74-year-olds are most opposed. 

Manning added: “This could be the closest vote since 1919, when alcohol prohibition was defeated by just 10,362 votes.

“As this survey shows, cannabis is already widely accessible, and so next month’s decision is fundamentally about who we want to control it: government or the gangs.”

Read more about the referendum here.

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