Policy Influence and the Legalized Cannabis Industry: Learnings From Other Addictive Consumption Industries
Background and aim
New Zealand has recently legalized medicinal cannabis and has explored the possibility of legalizing large‐scale recreational cannabis supply. In the process, concerns have emerged regarding whether corporations involved in the large‐scale production and sale of legalized cannabis will invest in tactics of influence with policymakers and the public. This paper aimed to examine the various ways a legalized cannabis industry could seek to influence governments and the public in the New Zealand reform context.
Based on the study of industry tactics with alcohol, tobacco and gambling, the researchers applied a three‐chain model of industry influence that breaks tactics into the ‘public good’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘political’ chains.
Exploratory analysis of the nascent cannabis industry’s activity in New Zealand provided signs of industry influence strategies related to all three chains. The medicinal cannabis industry has associated the establishment of a legal cannabis sector with regional economic development and employment, supported lobbying for recreational law reform, funded NGOs involved in lobbying for law reform, established research partnerships with universities, invited ex‐politicians on advisory boards, and participated in government public sector partnerships.
There is emerging evidence that the legal cannabis industry is using strategies to influence the regulatory environment in New Zealand.