New Zealand Unveils Cannabis Legalization Blueprint

New Zealand has unveiled the cannabis legalization plan that voters will decide on later this year; the proposal would set the legal consumption age at 20, would allow for so-called ‘coffee shops,’ and would permit home grows.

Full story after the jump.

New Zealand’s cannabis legalization bill has been unveiled, setting the legal purchase and consumption age at 20, allowing so-called ‘coffee shops,’ and permitting adults to grow up to two plants for personal use, with up to four plants per household, according to Stuff. The cannabis legalization measure is one of two referendums the nation’s voters will decide on this year.

The bill sets a jail term of four years for sales to minors and minors caught possessing cannabis would not face criminal charges. Instead, the bill sets forth a “health-based response” to minors caught with cannabis, including education, community service, or a small fine.

Individuals would be allowed to buy up to 14 grams of flower per purchase – which would be the only available products in the initial rollout of the industry, the report says. While the bill does provide for social use in the form of coffee shops, it also includes fines up to $500 for using in public.

The bill bans some specific products, including those mixed with alcohol or tobacco, injectable products, suppositories, and products that are meant for use in the eyes, ears, and nose. It also bans advertising, promotion, and sponsorships by cannabis products and cannabis businesses.

A cap would limit the amount of cannabis available for sale in the licensed market and no licensee would be allowed to hold more than 20 percent of that cap.

If the referendum is approved by more than 50 percent of voters, recreational cannabis wouldn’t become legal right away. After the election, the incoming government could introduce the legalization bill to Parliament.

A 2017 poll found 65 percent of New Zealand voters supported legalizing or decriminalizing personal cannabis possession, along with 55 percent who were in favor of personal cultivation. That poll found just 34 percent supported storefront sales.

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