New Zealand Finalizes Recreational Marijuana Ballot Measure For September Election

Voters in New Zealand will have the chance to approve a referendum granting the country’s political leaders a chance to fully legalize recreational marijuana for individuals 20 years of age and older.

Government leaders in New Zealand have finalized their “Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill” to put before voters in the country’s September election. The comprehensive bill covers every aspect of recreational marijuana legalization from growing, to selling, to purchasing and consuming.

The overall goal of the recreational cannabis bill is “to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities,” according to an official bill summary.

New Zealand political leaders first released details of the ballot measure in December 2019. The full version was released last week to the public.

Estimates from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research project that recreational legalization could generate $490 million in tax revenue annually from cannabis sales, but only if legalization displaces the country’s illegal cannabis market completely.

Highlights of New Zealand’s Proposed Marijuana Legalization Law

The key points found in New Zealand’s new marijuana legalization proposal include:

  • An individual 20 years of age or older can purchase up to 14 grams of dried marijuana per day from a licensed outlet.
  • Cannabis can only be consumed on private property or at a licensed establishment or cannabis coffee shops.
  • Adults can grow up to two plants at home, with a restriction of no more than four plants per household.
  • Plants grown at home must be out of sight and not accessible from public areas.
  • Adults can share up to 14 grams of dried marijuana with another individual 20 years of age or older.
  • If a person under the age of 20 is found in possession of cannabis, the punishment would be an educational session, social or health service, or a small fine, none of which would include a conviction.
  • Advertising cannabis products would be banned.

You can read the full New Zealand recreational marijuana referendum, here.

What’s Next For New Zealand’s Marijuana Proposal

New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum is “non-binding,” meaning it will require the support of more than 50 percent of voters as well as support from the incoming government to take effect.

According to election information, “after the election the incoming Government can introduce a Bill to Parliament that would legalize and control cannabis. This process would include the opportunity for the public to share their thoughts and ideas on how the law might work.”

If fully approved, licensed retailers could only sell cannabis plants and seeds until the Cannabis Regulatory Authority is fully established. The agency would then be able to introduce regulations for other licensed products for sale, including concentrates and cannabis edibles.

The long-awaited 2020 cannabis referendum is part of a deal struck between New Zealand’s Labour Party and the Green Party. The alliance was formed with an agreement involving The Green Party supporting the current Labour Party Prime Minister in exchange for support on a cannabis legalization referendum.

Medicinal cannabis which is already legal in New Zealand, as well as hemp, would not be impacted by the proposed bill.

More Marijuana News

Find out more about New Zealand’s cannabis laws, or visit our cannabis policy page to find more articles on cannabis legalization in the United States as well as around the world. Whether it’s cannabis policy, business, or scientific research you’re looking for, follow along for the latest reports through our cannabis industry news page.