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Most middle-aged Kiwis support legalising medicinal cannabis, but not recreational use

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Researchers at the University of Otago have assessed attitudes towards cannabis in a sample of 40-year-old Kiwis living in Christchurch. Nearly 900 participants were interviewed about the perceived harmfulness of cannabis use, opinions on legalisation for recreational use and supply, and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. More than 80 per cent of the cohort expressed support for medicinal cannabis, but only 26.8 per cent expressed support for legalisation for recreational use. Support for legalisation was linked to prior drug use, a history of depression, Māori ancestry, and higher educational attainment. Women and those with dependent children were more likely to have a negative attitude. The authors note several limitations to their study, particularly that the age of the sample is very narrow, and that the cohort is not representative of New Zealand more generally. Importantly, their assessment of cannabis attitudes took place before the announcement of the 2020 Referendum, and some attitudes may since have changed.

Journal/conference: New Zealand Medical Journal

Organisation/s: University of Otago

Funder: All authors report grants from Health Research Council of New Zealand, and grants from Canterbury Medical Research Foundation during the conduct of the study. Professor Boden is a member of the New Zealand Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor's Expert Panel on Cannabis.

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