New Zealand government reveals cannabis referendum details

The new law would allow people aged 20 and older to buy 14 grams of dried cannabis per day

Oleksii Liskonih / iStock / Getty Images Plus


New Zealand took one step closer to legalizing the recreational use of cannabis today, with the country’s government releasing details of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The bill is slated to be voted on in a referendum when Kiwis go to polls for a general election in the fall.

If passed, the new legislation would allow people aged 20 and older to buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis per day from licensed outlets. They will also be able to grow up to two plants (with a maximum of four plants per household), and share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.

Under the new law, those caught using cannabis in public would be subject to a NZ$500 fine, with a penalty of up to four years in prison for supplying cannabis to a person under the age of 20.

It’s not just recreational users who stand to benefit from a yes vote. The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Zealand in 2018, with regulations only taking effect in April of this year. However, as the New Zealand branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has pointed out, “no new cannabis products are available, and producers cannot yet apply for licences. This has left many patients wondering what the scheme really means for them.”

“Patients who are stuck at home or live in remote areas can still access cannabis products, because home delivery by online pharmacies is allowed,” noted Chris Fowlie, president of NORML New Zealand.

“However, growing their own won’t be allowed. For this to happen, New Zealand must vote Yes by a majority in the cannabis referendum to be held at the next general election.”

The election takes place on September 19. The cannabis question is one of two referendums being held at the same time; the other is in regards to the legalization of voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand.


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