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New Zealand government releases final details for cannabis referendum

New Zealand cannabis referendum

The New Zealand government is ready for a cannabis referendum, scheduled to take place alongside national election later this year. The government has this morning (Friday, May 01, 2020) published the final legislation with a phased approach towards cannabis legalization.

New Zealand’s “referendum” 

Unveiling the final model for cannabis legalization, New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little revealed that the country will levy taxes on cannabis, based on potency. The state will also ban cannabis products that target teenagers and permit marijuana “coffee shops” to open if the country votes for its legalization on September 19, 2020 cannabis referendum.

Under the new regime, the government allows for immediate approval of only dried and fresh cannabis, including plants and seeds. These are safe for production and sale in the country. All the same, the model outlines the consequences of violating the provisions, which include a punishment of up to 4 years imprisonment for selling cannabis to minors. The law allows only people aged 20 years and above to buy and consume marijuana. Minors found in possession of cannabis are exempted from criminal sanction, but would be given “a health-based response.”

Mr. Little stated that the government came up with the model after analyzing other jurisdictions that have decriminalized cannabis such as Uruguay, Canada, and several States in America. 

Cannabis is under an absolute prohibition and has been for 50 years but the reality is it is used a reasonable degree by a chunk of the population. This is about saying ‘if people can use it safely, what does that look like? Little said, adding that this is about regulation – getting both balance and controls right.

Updated bill

The government updated the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill to include a number of new clauses. It outlines how the cannabis market would work, regulation of consumption premises, and many more.

The Justice Minister underscored the fact that cannabis prohibition has persisted for decades, yet other more harmful products remain legalized. He said legalization would put the cannabis industry in the limelight, together with all the checks and balances it requires.

And to not repeat the mistakes that we’ve had historically with the likes of alcohol. That’s another substance that can cause harm but is socially accepted, even though the harm it causes is reasonably widespread, Little said.

According to the updated bill, there would be no public consumption of marijuana. The model bans online sales of cannabis, allowing a maximum purchase cap of 14 grams per day. Stoners are not allowed to consume weed at alcohol selling venues.

However, the bill allows home growing of cannabis, with two plants per individual and four plants per household. A regulatory body would take care of licensing, especially for commercial growers and sellers. It would also install measures to deal with monopolies.

With the details of the cannabis referendum now in the public domain, it’s upon New Zealanders to answer the question, “Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill?” and their decision will either shoot it down or make it lawful.

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