A long-time Northland cannabis reform advocate is still hoping special votes will overturn the close "no" vote in the legalising recreational cannabis referendum.
Maki Herbert, the long-time Te Tai Tokerau Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) candidate, has been promoting cannabis reform for three decades and said the result is still too close to call.
Preliminary results released yesterday show 46.1 per cent (1,114,485 people) voted for legalised cannabis, compared to 53.1 per cent against (1,281,818 votes.
The official result, however, won't be known until November 6, when 480,000-odd special votes will be included in the final count.
But the margin released yesterday is in line with poll results leading up to polling day that showed a close race, but leaning towards the "no" vote.
However, Herbert, who watched the result come through at home with a group of supporters and fellow ALCP candidates, still has hope the special votes will overturn the preliminary result.
''Really 46.1 per cent is so close to 50 per cent that it could be overturned with the special votes, there is still a chance.''
She knew the vote would be close and understood why some people had concerns over some aspects of it, as she did also.
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Herbert said even if the "no" vote was upheld after special votes were counted that should not be the end of the matter.
She hoped a Labour/Greens government - if that is what the next government looks like - would see that there was still a huge appetite for cannabis reform, as supported by almost half of the voting population.
Herbert said the Government should then seriously consider decriminalisation of the drug because that would be a way of also reducing harm and stopping people being jailed for smoking a plant.
She felt legalising cannabis may have been a step too far for some.
''I have to say that I'd prefer decriminalisation really as even legalising [under the referendum criteria] would have still left some people as criminals. That legalisation model wasn't the best way forward, but far better than the status quo.''
She said limiting people to two plants would have seen people in the spotlight of the law because most people would grow up to 10 plants to ensure they would get two or three good female plants to then cultivate into heads for smoking.
Herbert said regardless of the final outcome it was pleasing that the issue of cannabis reform had received such widespread support.