New Zealand On Track To Legalise Marijuana After New Poll Shows Majority Support
New Zealand is edging closer to its referendum on whether to legalise the sale, possession and production of marijuana for recreational use.
The big vote will go ahead on September 19 and it looks like it could end up getting the green light, according to a new survey.
The Yes campaign has put out a poll to Kiwis and there was a slight majority who would vote to approve weed legalisation.
The people who would vote 'Yes' numbered 48 per cent of the survey, versus 43 per cent in the 'No' category.
Admittedly, that's a pretty tight margin and that could change in the time between now and mid-September. However, proponents of legalisation believe it's an encouraging statistic that highlights how the public feel at the moment.
NZ Drug Foundation chief executive Ross Bell said the drug will eventually be legalised.
"Despite almost 55 years of prohibition, it is New Zealand's most widely used illicit drug," he said.
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"Evidence shows that up to 80 per cent of New Zealanders will use cannabis at least once before they turn 21. We have an opportunity to vote on a solution that is focused on positive public health outcomes and harm minimisation, so let's do it right."
The referendum was first approved in 2017 as part of Jacinda Ardern's government's power-sharing agreement with the Greens. In that same year, a poll showed around 57 per cent of people were in support of legalising cannabis.
Opinion polls since then have showed a waxing and waning level of support for the referendum, so it could really come down to the wire when Kiwis head to vote.
Out of the 12 major surveys conducted, seven have showed the Yes vote winning while five showed No getting the win.
Under the proposal to legalise cannabis, the substance would only be available for people over the age of 20 and they would be restricted to purchasing 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day.
Kiwis would be allowed to grow up to two cannabis plants in their home, however each property will be allowed up to four plants.
All products will have harm minimisation messages on the packages and they will be banned from advertising or marketing.
There will be no online sales for the drug and all products will have to be sold in a physical store.
Featured Image Credit: PA