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Key details released for New Zealand’s upcoming cannabis referendum

Key details released for New Zealand’s upcoming cannabis referendum

Today, the New Zealand government released key details on the cannabis referendum.

Key details released for New Zealand’s upcoming cannabis referendum

The cannabis referendum, which was released in draft last December, will be voted on at the general election this September.

Some of the key details released today include guidance on edibles, advertising and infringement fees.

The Drug Foundation’s Ross Bell says the draft bill exceeds his expectations. “We were already quite happy with the first draft, and the public health controls that were included. But to see the final bill, and all of those extra details that have been added – they’ve covered all the key issues, and public health remains at the heart of the bill.”


Who can buy cannabis and how much?

Last year, the draft bill laid out details of age limits and amounts. People aged 20 or over would legally be allowed to purchase up to 14 grams of dried cannabis per day.

This must be sold through licensed outlets and people will only be able to consume cannabis on private property or at a licensed venue.


What kinds of products will be allowed?

Under the legislation, only fresh and dried cannabis (including plants and seeds) would be approved for immediate production and sale.

A Cannabis Regulatory Authority would then decide whether edibles would be approved, excluding beverages and novelty products. Edibles would have to meet requirements and will be banned if they are found to appeal to young people and children.


What are the rules on selling?

Advertising would be banned and retailers would not be able to sell products at a reduced price or give away for free.

Similar to alcohol and gambling, cannabis products would be taxed with a levy to fund services to reduce cannabis harm.


What happens to people who break the rules?

When it comes to offences, anyone caught selling cannabis to people under the age of 20 could face a four-year prison term. Those selling without a license also face up to two years in jail.

For people under the age of 20 caught in possession of cannabis, a health-based response would be enacted. This could include an education session or a small fine, but no conviction.


When will this be voted on?

The cannabis referendum will be voted on in the general election on 19 September. If is passes, it will still have to go through parliament before becoming legislation.

Click here to see a full summary of the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

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