Cannabis 'reeferendum' details revealed: what NZ will vote on to legalise the cheese

News 07/05/2019

Kiwis will vote on a proposal to legalise cannabis in 2020 that includes rules around special bars for consumption, outlets for sale and even rules for home-grown cannabis at the next election.

Justice Minister Andrew Little revealed that voters will be presented with draft legislation that will include a minimum age of 20 to use and purchase recreational cannabis.

"There will be a clear choice for New Zealanders in a referendum at the 2020 General Election. Cabinet has agreed there will be a simple Yes/No question on the basis of a draft piece of legislation," Little said.

That draft legislation will include:

  • A minimum age of 20 to use and purchase recreational cannabis
  • Allowing cannabis products to be brought only in a licensed premise from a licenesed and registered retailer
  • A ban on using cannabis publicly (only on a licensed premis or private property)
  • Rules around private home-grown cannabis and products
  • Regulations and commercial supply controls
  • A ban on advertising of cannabis products
  • A public education programme
  • Stakeholder engagement

The Cabinet paper outlining details of the referendum has been published online, showing the four referendum approaches the Government considered, which were published on Sunday by National after it was leaked the Cabinet paper.

It included a non-binding question of whether voters support legalising recreational cannabis, or a non-binding question, accompanied by a policy framework document of how legalisation would work.

It also presented the option of a non-binding question accompanied by draft legislation, as well as a binding question accompanied by legislation already passed that would become law if the public voted 'yes'.

The Government went with the latter option, and the Cabinet paper says the option was "favoured". An ad-hoc select committee will be established to focus on the issues and "engage with people across the country".

The Cabinet paper also noted how, despite prohibition, cannabis "is the most commonly used illegal drug in New Zealand" and "various studies indicate around 10 to 12 percent of adults use cannabis at least once a year and nearly a third of those people are Maori".

-additional reporting by Newshub