Why did a couple of states in the US say yes to dope, but NZ didn’t? Easy.

An article at The Spinoff whines that “Soon after the proposed cannabis bill failed to gain majority support at referendum here, several conservative US states voted to legalise cannabis and decriminalise other drugs. So why is our supposedly progressive nation afraid of drug law reform?

(Actually, two of the so-called ‘conservative’ states went to Biden!)

What is not mentioned in all these commentaries is just how dramatically the pro-drug groups outspent those opposed to drug harm.

In Arizona, the pro-cannabis lobby outspent the opponents 7 ($5.47m) to 1 ($833,338).

In Montana, 23 ($6.95m) to 1.

In New Jersey, ($0.57m) 64 to 1.

In South Dakota, 12 to 1.

And in Oregon which decriminalised all drugs including cocaine and heroin, the yes campaign spent more than $US4 million on campaigning, outspending the opponents by 61 to 1, and supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and also George Soros who helped fund a NZ Drug Foundation conference in 2010.

We should be grateful that in New Zealand we have strict electoral spending limits so that important social debates are based around the best research and arguments – rather than who has the deepest pockets.

As always, follow the money!