New Zealand Votes Against Legalising Weed
New Zealand has voted against legalising recreational weed in what has been described as a landmark referendum for the country.
Preliminary results reveal that 53.1% of New Zealand residents are against legalising cannabis, while 46.1% are in favour. Medicinal cannabis, which is already legal in New Zealand, won’t be affected by this outcome.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed she voted in support of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which would have allowed those over the age of 20 to purchase up to 14 grams of marijuana from licensed outlets per day.
As reported by The Washington Post, the government had already released a draft bill.
However, on Friday, October 30, senior Labour lawmaker Justice Minister Andrew Little stated that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that the result would be overturned during the final count, noting that the government had ‘no other plans in terms of drug law reform’.
Those who have long been advocating for the legalisation of weed in New Zealand have been left disappointed by this decision, with the weed business having proven to be lucrative in other parts of the world.
As per The Washington Post, Make It Legal New Zealand campaigner Asher Etherington, stated:
If voters thought that by voting down this opportunity, Kiwis would cease to consume cannabis, they have not been paying attention.
The cannabis reform lobby here has fought for decades and is prepared to fight for decades more to achieve positive reform.
This referendum comes at the same time as another landmark referendum, with New Zealand voting in favour of legalising euthanasia. The first vote on assisted dying has already secured 65.2% ‘yes’ ballots – enough for it to become law.
This early vote means New Zealand is set to become the seventh country to legalise euthanasia, with terminally ill patients with less than six months to live being permitted to arrange their own death from November 2021 onwards.
Patients seeking euthanasia must be over the age of 18, and will need to obtain the approval of two doctors.
Lawyer Matt Vickers, who supported his late wife Lecretia Seales’ fight to legalise euthanasia, told BBC News that the result represents ‘a victory for compassion and kindness’, adding:
I am grateful that terminally ill New Zealanders will have a say about the ends of their lives.
The final results for both these referendums will be announced on November 6.
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