New Zealand to Vote on Cannabis Legislation in 2020

New Zealand will hold a referendum to legalise cannabis. The draft law would allow people over the age of 20 to Purchase the drug.

The referendum will take place during the 2020 general election, New Zealand’s government announced on Tuesday.

Justice minister Andrew Little said the vote would be binding and up to the next administration to bring the legislation into force.

Mr Little said “voters will be asked a simple Yes/No question on the bases of a draft piece of legislation” The draft will include: a minimum age of 20 to purchase, Regulatory frame work for licensed premises, a ban on advertisement, home growing regulations and a public educational program.

Little said the coalition government was committed “to a health-based approach to drugs, to minimize harm and take control away from criminals.”

The referendum comes after the Green party negotiated with the governing labour party in a confidence and supply agreement. MP for the Green Party Chloe Swarbrick said “the vote presented the greatest opportunity for cannabis law reform our country has seen in 40 years”

She stated “to avoid any potential of a ‘Brexit’ situation because people will know exactly what the future holds, and how these changes will be implemented”

Surveys have shown cannabis is the most common illicit drug in New Zealand with around 80% of New Zealanders over the age of 21 at least once, and 10% use it on a regular basis.

In 2018 New Zealand passed legislation to make medicinal cannabis widely available the countries move to make recreational cannabis legal would be the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.

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