Start the conversation
Learn how to have a convincing conversation about the benefits of making cannabis legal.
How to have a convincing conversation about making cannabis legal.
Conversations are a really important campaigning tool – in the Irish abortion referendum, 39% of voters thought discussions with family, friends or workmates were the most influential factor in the final outcome.
No one knows how the cannabis referendum will go yet – the polls show the results will be close. So if you feel strongly that we need to win this referendum, get talking – at your workplace, at the gym, when you’re out with friends, or on your phone via messenger, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and wherever else you are active.
Know your subject. Unless you’re already an expert, have a good read about the bill and our FAQs on this website. Then pick your moment. Often the best time for a conversation is while doing an activity, like a walk around the park or over a game of golf.
Remember to listen too. It’s much easier to be convincing if you know where someone is coming from. They’ll no doubt have good reasons for whatever they already think about cannabis.
Focus on values
Work out which values are important to you both. For example, most people are keen to see New Zealanders healthier, and to protect young people from damaging themselves. And most people see themselves as compassionate, and don’t like to see people suffer for no reason.
Build on those values to explain your point of view: “Minimising the harm that cannabis can cause is important to me too. And from what I’ve learned, regulating cannabis is the best way to stop some of the worst harms that cannabis can cause…”
Remember that things are rarely black and white. You might share similar values – for example that we need to protect young people – but disagree on the solution. But you can talk through law reform options that address their concerns.
Keep it light
Keep calm and polite – always. If you end up red-faced, chances are that you won’t be having the convincing effect you were going for! So explore ideas together rather than telling people what they should think.
Remember – it’s okay to not agree on everything. You’re mostly trying to get across that health-focused cannabis regulations can help reduce harm and protect people.
Choosing arguments that are convincing
Every conversation will be a bit different. But based on our research, these are the messages that are most relevant to the voters who might swing either way at the referendum.
- Promoting health, with people able to access help if they need it, and taxes going to drug harm prevention and treatment
- Wanting laws based on compassion, where those who use cannabis medicinally have more affordable access to a wider range of products
- Wanting to live in safe communities where police can focus on serious crime
- Reducing the number of pointless convictions to protect our most vulnerable
- Putting controls around cannabis, to ensure products are safe.
Get more detailed information on using conversations to win the cannabis referendum with our conversation pack.