Aukland, NZ

Dan Freeman

New Zealand Will Put Legalization On 2020 Ballot

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little said voters will get to decide whether or not to legalize adult-use cannabis during the 2020 general election, according to a New York Times report.

New Zealand has demonstrated increasing support for cannabis legalization, having just last week expanded its restrictive medical cannabis program to allow for easier access.

A recent news poll showed that 46 percent of voters favor legalizing cannabis, with 41 percent opposed.

Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald said that the movement was favoring legalization for two reasons: “the advancement in the medicinal cannabis regime and the law just being passed, and also just that gathering sense of global opinion that the war on drugs is lost and that the health approach is the one to take.”

The Justice Minister, however, wants to be careful about the ballot question’s wording. Several politicians are uncomfortable having the issue on the ballot already, as it may dominate public attention during the campaign season.

Chlöe Swarbrick of the Green Party said she hopes the New Zealand government will be careful to design and disclose a desired cannabis legalization structure before the vote takes place so that voters actually know what they’re voting for.

Doing that, she said, “means we don’t end up with a Brexit-type situation when we’re trying to figure out what a ‘yes’ vote actually means.”

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