New Zealand Reveals Final Draft For Cannabis Referendum

At long last, New Zealand has released its cannabis referendum proposal for the September ballot.

Last Friday, the New Zealand Government unveiled its final draft of the Cannabis Legalisation & Control Bill to be voted on in the September general election ballot.

The ballot gives voters the option to choose either "yes" or "no" as to whether adults aged 20 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess cannabis, cultivate two plants for personal use and visit marijuana "coffee shops" akin to those found in Amsterdam, in which people can consume cannabis publicly.

The bill goes on to state that individuals will be able to purchase up to 14 grams of cannabis from licensed retailers per day, as well as gifting the same amount to another adult.

A person aged 20 or over would be able to grow 2 cannabis plants, with a maximum of four plants per household that are grown out of public access and view.

The initial range of cannabis products that would be made legal in New Zealand would be dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants, cannabis seeds, and cannabis edibles. Cannabis products that would remain illegal in New Zealand include cannabis beverages as well as "higher risk" products such as "injectables, suppositories, and products for the eyes, ears or nose."

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As we've mentioned previously, the referendum for cannabis in New Zealand is non-binding, meaning that if a majority of voters say yes to the ballot question, cannabis doesn't instantaneously get legalized. Instead, a majority "yes" vote would then prompt the legislature to vote on the bill that is the subject of the referendum, ultimately determining if the plant becomes legal in the country.

As it stands, it looks like the country will vote "yes" at the ballot box, with the most recent survey of 2,000 people finding that a majority of Kiwi's now support legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 54% said they will vote yes to legalizing cannabis use in New Zealand's upcoming referendum.

However, this isn't set in stone, as these numbers have been constantly fluctuating over the past year. Just two months prior to the most recent survey, an alternate survey found that just 39% of New Zealand citizens planned on voting in favor of cannabis legalization during the upcoming referendum, representing a further decline compared with even just a few months prior, when 43% reported supporting the move in December 2019.

Whether or not New Zealanders will vote yes in September remains to be seen, though legalizing cannabis in New Zealand would serve as a tremendous boon for the Oceania Region, whose cannabis industry is estimated to grow to over $1.5bn in the next four years.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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