New Zealand: final cannabis legalization referendum released

New Zealand has published the final draft legalization of cannabis which will be put to a popular vote in a national referendum next September.

The first details on the measure were published in December. The government released the full framework on Friday, which would make it legal for adults aged 20 to purchase and possess cannabis, and to cultivate two plants for personal use. Coffeeshops where consumption on site will also be permitted.

Individuals can purchase up to 14 grams of marijuana from licensed dealers, and offer up to 14 grams to the other person.

The referendum outcome won't affect medicinal cannabis and hemp. The former will still be allowed if prescribed by a doctor, and hemp will still be legal.

If more than 50% of voters approve legalization, cannabis would not be immediately legalized. The legislator will then have to adopt the bill after having received public comments on the reform.

When the law is in effect, shops will be permitted to sell cannabis buds and cannabis seeds, fresh and dry. The potential regulator will then be able to allow "through legislation, the introduction of other approved products for sale, including extracts and edible marijuana products."

The government has explained that the aim of the legislation is to mitigate the illicit market, promote public health, and ensure the quality control of cannabis products. Marijuana companies won't be able to advertise.

According to a report released this week by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research, the country is expected to generate $ 490 million in tax revenue annually from legal cannabis sales.

The three major political parties reached consensus on the important details of the referendum on legalization and released the details in May 2019. Whether New Zealand voters will back the initiative remains to be seen.

One of the most recent surveys, published in March, showed that 54% of residents favor the legalization of cannabis for personal use, an increase of 6 points since the previous survey.

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