New Zealand To Vote On Federal Legalization Of Marijuana
The upcoming marijuana referendum in New Zealand has attracted less public attention than it could have in a normal year, as the election focused almost exclusively on issues like education, health care, and the economy, rather than legalizing marijuana. New Zealand would join Canada and Uruguay as the country that would legalize the sale and use of cannabis for adults if more than half of voters vote in favor. But public support for the measure has waned in recent years, reversing the support that has grown in recent years. We believe that we are the first country in the world to put the legalization of cannabis for recreational use to a national vote.
This month, 35% of 1,000 respondents said they supported the proposed law, up from 40%, according to a poll by 1 News, and opponents of the measure rose to 53% in September. The proposed laws would legalize cannabis for people under 20, but regulate how it is grown, used, sold, and regulated. As the debate is plagued by claims of misinformation on both sides and in the middle of a tight election cycle, politicians shy away from the issue for fear of ending up on the wrong side of a controversial issue. A vote means the next parliament would have a mandate to pass it, so the referendum is not binding.
A survey of 1300 people conducted by Horizon Research and commissioned by medical cannabis companies found that 49.5% of respondents supported the law and 49% opposed it. Under the proposed law, people would be allowed to buy up to 14 grams of cannabis a day and grow two plants, but the law imposes restrictions on how much of the market companies can control.
Some politicians have avoided sharing their views, including New Zealand First Lady Winston Peters, who admitted on Wednesday night that he had smoked marijuana in the past but will not say how he will vote. The left-leaning Greens support the bill, as do Labour, the Greens, and the Labour Party. But the matter is public, "he said of senior lawmakers who had supported the bills, saying his entire party would oppose the measure.
It makes sense that Ardern should not get caught up in a measure that could fail, analysts say, and she is well ahead in the polls. Her party is on the cusp of governing alone and is backed by the New Zealand People's Party, the country's second-largest party after Labour.