New Zealanders now want cannabis to remain illegal, according to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll.
The public has a chance to vote on whether cannabis should be legalised in a referendum alongside the 2020 general election, however the latest poll showed 52 per cent of New Zealanders intend to vote against legalisation.
Of those asked in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, 39 per cent wanted cannabis legalised, eight per cent did not know or refused to answer and 1 per cent say they would not vote.
The groups of people who were more likely to be for the legalisation of cannabis included Green Party supporters and people aged 18-34.
Those who were more likely to intend to vote against the legalisation of cannabis were people aged 55 and over and National Party supporters.
Drug Foundation spokesperson Ross Bell said there was "a whole lot of myth and misinformation, scaremongering being run over the last few months, which I think has influenced New Zealand's thinking on this".
"I think the Government has tied its own hands, saying this is a referendum for the public and this is not Government policy, which means there is a big vacuum that's been created and currently filled with misinformation."
Mr Bell said once the public receives more information, he expected legalisation would pass at the referendum.
National's Paula Bennett told 1 NEWS she was not surprised at the poll result and felt the public were expressing their concerns as they come to understand what legalisation meant.
She also said legalisation of cannabis did not align with the country's 2025 smoke free-goals.
Green Party drug reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said most New Zealanders had seen the harm cannabis causes "under status quo prohibition".
"This is why we need to develop legal regulation that reduces that harm, which is the conversation I'm focused on having with Kiwis."
Justice Minister Andrew Little released details of the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum last month, which would include a simple yes/no option for voters.
Mr Little confirmed that the referendum will be based on proposed legislation so that people will be able to see what they are voting for.
In the October 2018 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, the results were slightly more in favour of legalisation than against, with nearly half wanting the drug to be legal. Forty-six per cent of Kiwis were in favour of legalisation and 41 per cent were against, 12 per cent were undecided.
In the July, 2017, 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, 47 per cent were in favour of cannabis legalisation, 41 per cent were opposed and 12 per cent did not know.
The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll comes after details of the cannabis referendum Cabinet paper was leaked by National and questions were raised over drug driving tests ahead of the referendum. More than $13 million was also put towards the cannabis legalisation referendum in Budget 2019, "to engage and communication with the public on participation in the participation in the referendum process".
Between June 4 and 8, 1002 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.
In the latest poll, eligible voters were asked, 'A referendum on the legislation of cannabis will be held at the 2020 General Election. Possible new laws would allow people aged 20 and over to purchase cannabis for recreational use. The laws would also control the sale and supply of cannabis. At this stage, do you think you will vote for cannabis to be legalised, or for cannabis to remain illegal?'