New Zealanders have been given their first glimpse of what the country’s recreational cannabis industry might look like if they vote for legalization.
Kiwis will go to the polls to elect a new government in 2020 and a referendum on whether adult-use marijuana sales should be permitted will go on the same ballot. The government has always maintained that it is keen for the people to know exactly what they are voting for, so as to avoid a situation like Brexit.
It said that Brits were given a simple yes or no choice about leaving the EU, without any details provided on how the country would extricate itself from the bloc. It promised to learn from those mistakes.
To that end it has published the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill today. This legislation is designed to govern the recreational cannabis market, should it come into effect.
The New Zealand government said it is committed to a well-informed, impartial referendum process. “By making the referendum questions and the initial draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill available early the intention is to encourage public awareness and discussion,” said Justice Minister Andrew Little.
The wording of the cannabis referendum question has been confirmed as a straight yes or no. In the event of a yes vote, parties making up the current government have committed to honouring voters’ wishes.
The draft bill would impose a minimum purchase age of 20, while public consumption would be prohibited. All marketing and advertising of cannabis products would be outlawed, and retailers would be compelled to include harm minimization messaging during sales.
Only licensed brick and mortar stores would be permitted to sell cannabis, meaning no online sales and no deliveries. Potency would be strictly limited, but edibles would be allowed.
There would also be a licensing regime ensuring that that all stages of the cultivation and supply chain are licenced and controlled by the government, which will also limit the amount of cannabis that is allowed to be grown. A purchasing limit will restrict New Zealanders to buying 14 grams per day, which sounds pretty generous
Little has called a cross-party meeting to discuss the draft legislation on Thursday, and he will take on board their feedback.