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New Zealanders set to get yes/no option in cannabis referendum

The Government has announced details of the cannabis referendum.

Kiwis will get to vote yes or no on legalising cannabis for personal use at the 2020 general election.

The Government has announced it will offer a simple yes/no question on whether or not to legalise and regulate recreational cannabis.

The referendum is a part of the Labour-Green Confidence and Supply Agreement. 

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In a press release, Justice Minister Andrew Little said the Coalition Government is committed to a health-based approach to drugs, to minimise harm and take control away from criminals.

“There will be a clear choice for New Zealanders in a referendum at the 2020 General Election. Cabinet has agreed there will be a simple Yes/No question on the basis of a draft piece of legislation."

He said the draft legislation will include:

  • A minimum age of 20 to use and purchase recreational cannabis,
  • Regulations and commercial supply controls,
  • Limited home-growing options,
  • A public education programme,
  • Stakeholder engagement.

The referendum is binding, according to Little, but a future government would still have to implement the law change.

“The voters’ choice will be binding because all of the parties that make up the current Government have committed to abide by the outcome.

“We hope and expect the National Party will also commit to respecting the voters’ decision."

Little released the Cabinet ministers' paper on the final decision about the referendum question. He said there would be no other referendums at the 2020 election.

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