Voters in New Zealand will vote on Saturday on a nationwide referendum that would legalize the use and possession of cannabis by those 20 years of age and older. If passed, the vote would make New Zealand only the third country worldwide to legalize cannabis at the national level, joining Uruguay and Canada.
The referendum, known as the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, would require the New Zealand Parliament to establish rules and regulations for the commercial production and sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products. The measure would also permit adults at least 20 years old to purchase up to 14 grams of herbal cannabis per day. Home cultivation of up to four cannabis plants per household would also be allowed under the ballot measure. Under current New Zealand law, the use of marijuana by adults is a crime punishable by up to three months in jail.
Last week, a group of New Zealand’s leading public health professionals expressed their support for the legalization referendum in an editorial published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Professor Michael Baker of the University of Otago, one of the health experts who helped guide New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said that