A new poll suggests that 60% of New Zealanders are in favour of legalizing cannabis at the referendum set to take place next year.

Kiwis will go to the polls to elect a new government in 2020 and they will also be able to decide whether or not the country should legalize cannabis for recreational use. Only a handful of countries, including Canada and Uruguay, permit marijuana for non-medicinal use, but many New Zealanders are already enjoying cannabis on a regular basis.

300,000 adults in New Zealand use marijuana on a daily basis. Among those polled, 60% said they would vote yes, 24% said no and the remaining 16% had no opinion.

The survey from Horizon Research, commissioned by licensed medicinal cannabis company Helius Therapeutics, found that 300,000 adults in New Zealand use marijuana on a daily basis. Among those polled, 60% said they would vote yes, 24% said no and the remaining 16% had no opinion.

That suggests there is a lot more support for a yes vote and that there is a very real chance of the legislation passing in 2020. It is the first survey conducted since the government announced that the referendum would take place at the same time as the next general election and that it would be legally binding.

A further 81% of the 1,000 people polled said they continue to support medicinal cannabis, which was legalized in December 2018.

“It appears a majority of New Zealanders will vote yes at the 2020 referendum,” says Helius executive director Paul Manning. “It’s also encouraging for us to see an overwhelming 81% of Kiwis continue to support the legal production of medicines from cannabis.”

Helius is aiming to become a market leader in New Zealand after being granted a license to create the country’s largest cannabis cultivation facility in the wake of raising NZ$15 million ($9.8 million) in capital.

Over the Tasman Sea, neighbouring Australia is already rolling out a burgeoning medicinal cannabis trade. It is also one of just a handful of countries to permit exports of cannabis, and it is starting to muscle into the German market.

Germany legalized medicinal cannabis in May 2016, but it has completely relied on imports as a state-regulated program to cultivate the crop has been held up in a sea of red tape. It imported 1.8 tons in the first half of 2018 and 60% came from Canada, while the other 40% came from The Netherlands.

But now Medical Cannabis Australia has tied up an export deal with German pharmaceutical research firm Lexamed GmbH to send clones over for research purposes, with a view to selling Australian cannabis across the country. Karlsruhe-based Lexamed GmbH recently announced a deal with Sativa Investments PLC (NEX: SATI), the UK’s first medicinal cannabis investment vehicle, to bring British cannabis to Germany.

It shows an appetite among various developed countries to rival Canada when it comes to exporting into Europe, which is projected to be the fastest growing region in the global cannabis market over the next five years, and New Zealand will also want a piece of the action. Kiwi producers can now apply for export licenses, with a fee costing just $194.22, and New Zealand could end up as a major player in the global market, as it has favourable growing conditions and expertise in exporting wine and other goods around the world.

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