New Zealand is on track to vote on cannabis legalization in 2020.
The New Zealand government on Tuesday released a draft Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill (Bill) for public debate.
The Bill proposes a regulatory model that covers the production, supply, and adult-use of marijuana in New Zealand.
The government has published the draft of the Bill to ensure that New Zealanders are informed and educated on the issue before they cast their vote on a referendum in 2020.
Justice Minister Andrew Little says that it is important for voters to go into the 2020 General Election informed on the referendum.
“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,” says Justice Minister Little. “It is important that the public feel they can meaningfully participate in the referendum process.”
Little says that he aims to have the final draft of the Bill available by early 2020 so there is time to argue for change.
The referendum divides cannabis into recreational, medicinal, and hemp categories.
While recreational marijuana is currently illegal, medicinal cannabis products are available in New Zealand with a prescription, and the current scheme governing the production and sale of hemp has been in place in the country since 2006.
Under the rules of the Bill, adults over the age of 20 would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume recreational cannabis products without a prescription.
The Bill would ban all marketing and advertising of cannabis products, limit consumption to private homes and licensed premises, set restrictions on potency, limit sales to specifically-licensed brick-and-mortar shops, and establish a licensing system for all stages of production from seed to sale.