New Zealand to Put Legalization Question to Voters

New Zealand citizens will get to choose next year whether or not to legalize adult-use cannabis; lawmakers there just revealed parts of their legalization plan if the vote were to pass.

Full story after the jump.

New Zealand has announced there will be a nationwide referendum on cannabis legalization and the government outlined their legalization plan, setting the purchase age at 20, a purchase limit of 14 grams per day, and home-grow limits of two plants per person or four plants per household.

If the referendum is approved, it would require Parliament to approve sweeping legalization reforms.

According to policy documents, the bill would “disempower gangs,” lower the prison population, especially for the indigenous Māori population, and lower youth cannabis-use rates through education programs.

Following her election, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated she would put the issue to voters.

“During the campaign I’ve always been very vocal about the fact that I do not believe people should be imprisoned for the personal use of cannabis. On the flip-side, I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them.” – Ardern, to CNBC, Oct. 19, 2017

The plan includes a progressive excise tax, based on THC, similar to the nation’s tax scheme on alcohol.

The government notes that there are currently plans underway to expand the nation’s medical cannabis program to include a wider variety of products; rules for the expansion are expected this month.

A 2018 poll found 46 percent of New Zealanders supported legalization, with 41 percent opposed.

If approved, New Zealand would join Uruguay and Canada with federally-approved cannabis markets.

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