Flight of the Kiwi : New Zealanders experiences of cannabis in Amsterdam while on their overseas experience (OE) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Health Psychology at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
Cannabis consumption and travelling share a number of similarities, such as evoking pleasure or anxiety and, like in the title used to reflect this thesis, represent the experience of “flight” for the “Kiwi” (New Zealander). This thesis therefore explores both the experiences of cannabis consumption, a flight of the mind and travelling a flight of the body. The aim was to understand how New Zealanders experience cannabis in Amsterdam while they are undertaking a working holiday based in the United Kingdom (UK), known within Aotearoa New Zealand as an Overseas Experience (OE). Given Aotearoa New Zealand’s current political debates on cannabis control and the upcoming 2020 public referendum on legalising the substance, this thesis provides an opportunity to explore how New Zealanders experience cannabis within a liberal country that tolerates the sale of soft drugs in licensed premises, while growing up in a country that enforces cannabis prohibition. Statistics on cannabis use illustrate a steady rise in global consumption, however majority of countries still implement prohibition as a method of control, therefore choosing to study New Zealanders use of cannabis in a country without any legal ramification or stigmatisation for personal consumption allowed for greater transparency and in depth exploration. Nine, one-­‐on-­‐one, in-­‐depth interviews were undertaken with New Zealanders, aged between 18-­‐30 who were living and working in London. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenology Analysis (IPA). Four subordinate themes were identified within the data, along with ten sub-­‐themes. The results illustrate the sensible and structured nature cannabis was consumed and enacted abroad. Cannabis was not the sole motivator for the trip to Amsterdam however consuming cannabis to reach a pleasurable level of intoxication was intentionally pursued by all participants whilst in Amsterdam. In order to reach the desired state participants often drew from previous experiences or shared knowledge on the effects of cannabis and would implement certain techniques and practices to ensure they did not reach an undesired level of cannabis intoxication. Future research, with a diverse and larger sample would provide additional insights and could possibly assist in the potential policy change and implementation within the country.
New Zealanders, Drug use, Cannabis, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Great Britain, Attitudes, Tourists