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June 30, 2020

September NZ Legal Cannabis Vote Has Growing Support

New Zealand Parliaments BuildingAs New Zealand prepares for an upcoming referendum in September to legalize recreational cannabis, a new poll shows growing support for the bill.

The poll found that 56 percent of New Zealanders support cannabis reform, a figure that’s up from 54 percent in a poll conducted in February. These results mark the highest proportion of respondents planning to vote yes for the measure. Further, New Zealanders who plan to against cannabis reform fell to 43 percent, down 2 points from the survey in February.

Breaking down the demographics, the poll revealed that 59 percent of women in New Zealand support cannabis reform, as do 52 percent of men. As well, far more young people support the bill, with 72 percent of people aged 25-34 planning to vote in favor.

In the same research, when Kiwis were asked if prohibition had been successful in preventing cannabis use, 81 percent of people agreed that it had not, due to the fact that black market cannabis is widely available and used by many New Zealanders. Further, 71 percent agreed that a regulated personal-use cannabis market in New Zealand would have better outcomes for society.

The survey was commissioned by medical cannabis company Helius Therapeutics and conducted by Horizon Research. It consisted of a series of questions asked to 1,593 adults over the age of 18.

The Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill, which is currently a draft heading into this referendum, covers a vast array of details and offers a window into how the legal industry might look in New Zealand. Some of the finer points include a minimum purchase and possession age of 20 years, being able to purchase up to 14 grams per day, allowing people to grow up to 4 plants per household, and confining use to private homes and licensed businesses.

Currently, recreational cannabis possession and use is illegal in New Zealand with a maximum penalty of 3 months imprisonment or a $500 fine for any amount found.

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