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New Zealand Government Releases Draft Cannabis Legalization Bill For Public Consideration

Nina Zdinjak

New Zealand Government released Tuesday a draft cannabis legalization and control bill for public debate.

A voter referendum will be held next year, at which, New Zealand residents would be able to vote for or against recreational cannabis use legalization.

The draft bill defines the basic features needed to form a regulated recreational marijuana use market. The final draft bill will be introduced in the beginning of 2020 and it will consider public feedback on the current draft.

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Among the most important elements of the proposed bill are the following requirements:

  • Minimal age of 20 years for cannabis purchase and use.
  • Use is allowed only in private places and licensed facilities.
  • Limited marketing and advertising.
  • Licensing of the entire supply chain.
  • Prescribing conditions for private cultivating and sharing.
  • Setting the requirements for public health messaging.

With more than 50% of affirmative votes, the government will have to present a bill to Parliament that would make adult use of cannabis legal. This process would allow for the public to express their ideas and suggestions on how the law should be defined.

If the majority vote against the legalization, recreational use will remain illegal, but medical cannabis and hemp will not be affected, with medical cannabis allowed when prescribed by a doctor, and hemp also being legal.

“By making the referendum questions and the initial draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill available early the intention is to encourage public awareness and discussion,” Justice Minister Andrew Little said in a press release. “It is important that the public feel they can meaningfully participate in the referendum process.”


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