More than 50% of voters must say yes to the proposed changes for parliament to consider the changes
New Zealanders will be asked at September’s national election whether they want to pass a bill that would legalise cannabis and regulate how it is used and sold. This will include producing and selling fresh and dried cannabis, including plants and seeds – for people over 20 years old. The change would impose more stringent restrictions than the rules around sales of alcohol and tobacco.
Those under 20 caught with cannabis would not be convicted but would instead receive a “health-based” response, such as a fine or education. Those selling to under 20s would face jail time.
Cannabis use would be restricted to private residences or licensed premises, such as specialist cannabis stores.
People would be able to buy 14 grams of cannabis a day – something New Zealand’s main opposition party has previously decried as too much – with a THC content of up to 15%, which even New Zealand’s pro-legalisation Drug Foundation says is probably too much. The stronger the product, the higher the taxes that will be applied to it.
Advertising of cannabis products would not be allowed, nor would walking around smoking it in public.
Companies would have to choose between either growing or selling the drug, and there would be a limit to how much of the national stock a firm could hold. Imports and exports would not be permitted.