On Tuesday, the residents of New Zealand got a peek at the contents of a draft proposal on marijuana legalization that will be subject to a voter’s decision during the 2020 ballot.
According to a summary statement, the government of New Zealand is publishing the draft bill to ensure that the residents are well informed on the direction of legalization and the decisions being made.
The draft legislation gives a framework of the essential elements of establishing a regulated recreational marijuana market. Before the 2020 elections, the government will have updated the bill while taking into account public feedback.
If the bill is voted for by more than 50% of all voters, the soon to be elected government will have the responsibility of enacting new laws for regulating recreational marijuana.
The proposed legislation has the following policies:
- People above the age of 20 would be able to purchase marijuana products.
- People would be required to consume weed in private places and licensed facilities.
- Mandate investments in public health education campaigns.
- It would impose restrictions on campaigns.
- It would also create a marijuana business licensing program.
- People are also allowed to purchase up to 14 grams of marijuana per day and grow a maximum of two plants for personal use.
The government of New Zealand would be tasked with the establishment of the Cannabis Regulatory Authority to regulate the marijuana industry, approve business permits, and promote public health. The Cannabis Regulatory Authority would also be responsible for imposing the excise tax so that the government can recover costs incurred during the implementation of the marijuana program.
In a press release, Justice Minister Andrew Little said that the purpose of making the referendum questions, Marijuana Legalization draft and the Control Bill was to promote public awareness and discussions.
He further said that he aims to have the draft bill published in early 2020, to give them time to debate any needed changes. He also said that experience from abroad shows them the importance of presenting the public with factual and explanatory information to make an informed decision when voting.
The primary objectives of the legislation are to promote policies that reduce the severity of harm associated with marijuana and reduce the rate of marijuana use through education and treatment programs. The bill’s secondary objective is to eliminate the black market, reduce the arrest record, and safeguard quality control for marijuana products.
The details on the legalization proposal were first published in May. The bill was approved for a voter’s decision after the Green Party struck a deal to install Labor Party head Jacinda Ardern as the prime minister.
The referendum question will be structured like this:
- Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill?
- YES, I support the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill.
- No, I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill.
This week, a survey was released showing that 49% of New Zealand residents are opposed to marijuana legalization, and 43% support marijuana reform. It is uncertain if the voters will give the bill the nod.
Green Party MP, Chloe Swarbrick, said that the primary focus of the bill is to limit access, and eradicate the illicit market. Swarbrick further noted that in New Zealand, people of all ages could purchase weed since the drug dealers do not check IDs, nor do they care about the safety of the products they are selling.
Analysts think marijuana industry players like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) hope that the winds of change blowing offshore also prevail on the U.S. federal government to revisit its marijuana policies.
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