Depression & Anxiety are the leading mental health issues in New Zealand. The most recent data from the Global Health Data Exchange shows that ~350,000 individuals were diagnosed with Anxiety & ~100,000 individuals were diagnosed with Depression. Almost half a million Kiwis are facing mental health disorders just due to Anxiety and Depression alone. The added stress levels due to COVID are probably only going to add to these already high numbers.
The current legal treatment options are psychological treatments or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) as prescribed by WHO. The adverse effects of these treatments are well documented; a little Google search will reveal the same.
On the other hand, we have Cannabis, that has been used to alleviate mental health issues such as stress and Anxiety for centuries now. In a recent study conducted by New Frontier Data, more than 60% of cannabis users use cannabis products for wellness purposes such as Anxiety or pain relief and not for getting stoned . But politicians like Judith Collins who are ill-informed & have never used Cannabis are misleading general public that it contributes to mental health issues but has failed to discuss how it helps. No doubt excess of Cannabis is harmful, but so is everything else sugar, salt, fats etc.