To police officers who have dealt with cannabis-addled offenders over the years kicking the Cannabis Legalisation Bill to the kerb is a no-brainer.
Speaking ahead of the referendum being conducted in conjunction with the general election, former Napier detective Barry Searle says that of the "thousands" who communicate through a particularly active online forum for former police staff, most will vote against the introduction of the bill, and only "a handful" will disagree.
A former workmate paints the picture even more precisely, saying there were 6304 members last time he looked, and there'd be just "maybe four" who are in favour of the bill.
Now living in Taupo, the 66-year-old Searle says there are six adult voters in the family, and none will be supporting the introduction of the bill.
Having spent 14 years in the police before turning to private investigation and then loss adjustment in the insurance industry, he says most police and other emergency service workers will have seen the worst impacts of cannabis use, which is essentially benchmarked by damage to the health of young users.
While there are strong penalties proposed for anyone supplying cannabis to people aged under 20 years, he doesn't see it deterring teenaged and even childhood use of cannabis, and given the forbidden-fruit allure of cigarettes and alcohol to young people it is possible young people's use will increase if legalisation takes place.
He has no issue with the medicinal use already provided for, or big concern about adult use, although he does highlight the now publicly-recorded impacts of adults who took to cannabis use in their jobs, as undercover police officers investigating illicit drug dealing.
He says to put any of the issues ahead of the health questions related to young people's use, and other excessive use, "makes no sense".
"I haven't read the whole [proposed] bill," he says, "but then, few will have."
He has, however, read the summaries, and other literature that is available, such as reviews of how Canada is getting on two years after
But, while pointing out one of the uncontested survey facts from Canada – that after two years only 29 per cent are buying cannabis from legal sources – he says: "Most of us would agree that some sort of decriminalisation is in some way appropriate, but what people forget is that before a smoker picks up a joint someone else is growing it, someone else is selling it."
The black market will still exist, he says, adding the Canadian experience proves it.
He says legalisation sends out a message that "it is okay – there's no harmful effect".
No harmful effect in the same way as alcohol may have been seen to have no harmful effect, or tobacco, which, to highlight an irony, is in the throes of being banned in any public places by 2025, while the bill proposes licensed venues for the use of cannabis.
The question in the referendum is: Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?
There are only two ways to vote: Yes, or No. You either support it or you don't.
The big downer for those who support the bill is that it's non-binding, meaning that if the vote is more than 50 per cent in favour of the bill the new Parliament has a guide with what to do next and "can" introduce a bill that will legalise and control recreational use of cannabis.
If more than 50 per cent vote "No" then recreational use of cannabis and supplying cannabis will remain illegal, meaning the only legal use of cannabis is product approved for medicinal purposes, as allowed by the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019.