By LeeWEpstein

May 4, 2020


New Zealand has published the final draft of the cannabis legalization bill, which will be put to a popular vote in a national referendum in September.

The first details of the measure were published in December. On Friday, the government shared the full proposal, which would make it legal for adults 20 years of age and older to buy and possess cannabis and to grow two plants for personal use. Coffeeshops where on-site consumption would also be allowed.

Individuals will be able to buy up to 14g of cannabis from licensed retailers and offer up to 14g to another adult.

Medical cannabis and hemp will not be affected by the outcome of the referendum. Medical cannabis will still be allowed if prescribed by a doctor, and hemp will still be legal.

If more than 50% of the voters approve legalization, cannabis would not be legalized immediately. The legislator will then have to pass the bill after collecting public comments on the reform.

Once the regulation is in place, shops will be able to sell fresh and dried cannabis, cuttings, and seeds. The future regulator will then be able to approve “the introduction of other licensed products for sale, including cannabis concentrates and edible cannabis products, through regulations”.

The government explained that the purpose of the legislation is to mitigate the illicit market, promote public health, and ensure quality control of cannabis products. Cannabis companies will not be allowed to advertise.

According to a report released this week by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research, the country is expected to generate $490 million in tax revenue per year from legal sales of cannabis.

The three main political parties have reached agreement on the basic details of the referendum on legalization and released the information in May 2019.

It remains to be seen whether New Zealand voters will support the proposal. One of the most recent surveys, published in March, showed that 54% of residents are in favor of legalizing cannabis for personal use, an increase of 6 points since the previous poll.

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