New Zealand gov’t reveals cannabis referendum legislation details

Sydney, Australia, May 1 (efe-epa).- The New Zealand government released Friday the final legislation on the recreational use, sale and production of cannabis for which a referendum will be held as part of the general election in September.

The bill, published for public consideration, includes details for the production and acquisition of licenses for the sale of fresh and dry cannabis, including plants and seeds, according to a statement by New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little.

A regulatory authority could later recommend that edibles also be approved as long as they are not beverages or novelty products appealing to young people.

It also includes a four-year prison term for selling cannabis to those under 20 years of age and two years for commercializing the product without a license.

Those under 20 years of age found in possession of cannabis would be given a health-based response such as an education session or made to pay a small fine, but would not be given a conviction.

Voters will have to choose between a straight “Yes” or “No” to the question: “Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?” according to the statement.

If the bill passes the referendum, a person over the age of 20 could legally purchase up to a maximum of 14 grams of dried marijuana or its equivalent per day from an authorized sales center, and consume it on private property or at a licensed venue.

It will also permit the cultivation of two plants per person, with a maximum of four per household.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels would be limited and the amounts of THC and cannabidiol would have to be displayed, advertising would be banned, and products would be subject to tax with a levy to fund cannabis harm reduction services.

In December 2018, New Zealand’s parliament approved the medicinal use of marijuana, allowing patients suffering from chronic pain to purchase it with a doctor’s prescription.

According to NORML NZ, an organization advocating for the legalization of marijuana, 52 percent of New Zealanders between the ages of 15 and 45 have used it at some point in their lives, of which 16 percent are frequent users. EFE-EPA


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