Anna Rawhiti-Connell: why I’m voting yes

For Anna Rawhiti-Connell the referendum isn't about whether people want to use cannabis themselves, but to put in place a progressive health approach to New Zealand's most widely used drug.

I’m proud to live in New Zealand, a country known around the world for its progressive stance on a number of issues. We are the first country in the world where women won the right the vote.  We stood proudly nuclear free in the face of global opposition. Our kindness, compassion and respect for diversity has given us strength in tough moments. This leadership is something that every New Zealander should never take for granted.

We have another opportunity at this election to make a stand for progress, an opportunity to capture this moment for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Another success where we will look back and feel proud about our decision.

And that’s voting YES on the Cannabis Control Referendum.

I will be voting YES. This is not because I want to use cannabis. That’s not what this referendum is asking us. This is about us, as New Zealanders, wanting a progressive health approach to cannabis that gives us :

  • more control on strength and ingredients, making it much safer for those who do choose to use it
  • tax dollars reinvested in drug education and treatment
  • better, affordable access for those who need it for medical reasons, without the stigma of it being “illegal”.
  • More police focus on serious crime and fewer of our young people ending up with a conviction that prevents them from having a great future.

To me, the controls and measures we are voting for are something to be proud of. It’s making progress to treat cannabis use as a health issue and we should not miss our chance to seize this opportunity and make positive change.

If you are unsure I encourage you to find out more at so you too can be informed and make the right decision.

On October 17 I will be voting YES. For New Zealand. For our future.

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