NZ may vote on weed legalisation in 2019

The marijuana pictured above was seized by police in Kawerau earlier this year.


New Zealanders may get to vote on legalising marijuana next year.

The government is currently debating whether to hold the referendum in 2019 because it’s not sure holding it at the 2020 General Election would be a smart move politically.

The referendum on legalising marijuana was part of the confidence and supply deal struck between Labour and the Greens - although Winston Peters’ backs one too.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the government’s contemplating holding it next year, rather than in 2020.

"There’s two competing issues, one is it would be convenient to have it then (2020) we’ve got a General Election so we’re already running a ballot there.

"On the other hand, there would be other colleagues who would say ’well we don’t necessarily want a General Election run on this particular sort of issue, so let’s have it at a different time’ - that issue hasn’t been resolved and it will be a little while before it is, I suspect."

Andrew says the government had a lot of work to do before any vote.

"We need to make sure there is good public information out there, good events for people to express their views, so that would dictate a timing that would be no earlier that late 2019."

He says the government still did not know what sort of legalised marijuana system it will propose putting in place.

"We simply haven’t got anywhere near that, I think it’s about getting the mechanics of the referendum sorted, then I think obviously some discussions around scope and maybe some options there.

"The critical question is going to be, what is the question to go to the electorate with, one that makes sense and gives a meaningful answer and gives a mandate if it is approved to proceed with further work - if it’s not approved of course it’s all over."

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell agrees the question was key.

"How can you capture everything you need to in terms of protecting public health, protecting young people, raising money to put into health and education, how can you wrap all of those issues up in a single question?

"And I think that’s going to be a real challenge for them, which again is why it’s going to be really important that the public education, public engagement on this issue is run really well."

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick says other aspects of how the referendum will be run are still being hammered out too.

"The first thing we have to consider is whether we put legislation before the House first which will then be triggered by whatever the threshold may be of that referendum turn out.

"We’re still working through that, so we’re working with other government parties and inside our own caucus to discern what the best course of action will be."



Posted on 11-06-2018 14:37 | By Bassist

Interesting that the the person defending his right to vote on this subject is passive with his argument but the person who is so obviously against the use of marijuana (Maildrop) is using insults and name calling to get his point across... Speaks volumes!

Blankety blank

Posted on 08-06-2018 06:40 | By maildrop

High level THC cannabis is a product of human cultivation. Selective breeding, unlike you. Even if you could find a cannabis plant in the "wild", it wouldn’t do anything if you smoked it, other than kill a few more of your scarce brain cells. Go and find one, knock yourself out.


Posted on 07-06-2018 08:36 | By P0INT BLANK

Did you seriously just ask me where marijuana grows naturally... Wow!


Posted on 29-05-2018 15:21 | By red

Some commenters need to educate themselves, with spelling and facts!


Posted on 24-05-2018 17:35 | By maildrop

"..a naturally grown plant"!!!!!!!! Where does it grow ’naturally’? And are poppies and coca grown differently to cannabis? A mate of mine had cannabis growing in his spare room under lamps surrounded by foil. Didn’t look very natural to me. Me thinks you’ve been puffing on it too much to realise what you are writing makes no sense. Have you looked up the definition of "drug" yet? It clearly is one. And a plant, you’re correct on that. Well done.

Pointless blank

Posted on 24-05-2018 17:24 | By maildrop

I am thanks. I was amused by your distinction that it’s not a drug, but a plant. Perhaps you should put it down and look up the definition of a drug. It is a plant, I’ll give you that.


Posted on 24-05-2018 12:11 | By maildrop

Heroin and cocaine are derived from plants. Your point is what?

well well

Posted on 24-05-2018 09:15 | By dumbkof2

so they want to ban cigarettes but it will be ok to smoke mariwana and all the other drugs

About Bloody Time !!!

Posted on 23-05-2018 18:28 | By Gee9000

I for one will be voting for both to happen.

Testing for benes

Posted on 23-05-2018 14:08 | By Capt_Kaveman

if workers have to be tested so should benes unless the have a med cert, as for this i say yes fo rmedi reasons

@ Marshal

Posted on 23-05-2018 13:59 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Future, there is no future if you legalise drugs, there is no good answer except for absolute minor use medically (dubious) and otherwise it all an addictive creation that does only harm not good. Booze is liked by many becasue if the revenue. Smokes are perhaps worse than booze.

@ Angels

Posted on 23-05-2018 13:33 | By Captain Sensible

This article is not about medicinal marijuana. Some of what you say is true. Alcohol and prescription drugs are evil addictive drugs but I doubt what you say about "Never 1 death by pot" is including the fatal accidents including fatal work accidents and ruined lives from using the stuff. I’m sure you are aware of some teenagers who hardly get out of bed who are regular users. If it has that effect on people, then I can not see why us workers should be contributing our taxes to their chosen ’lifestyle’.

Great idea

Posted on 23-05-2018 11:33 | By Angels

Time NZ stepped up to the plate. Yes there need rules to monitor impairment.Remember pot only get someone high 2-4 hours , in blood stream for up to 30 days.P smokers out of blood stream in 3 days max . Stoned for 10+ hours when taken no tests.Alcohol. Is the most destrctive drug in society yet the most accepted. More deaths, crime,welfare,physical abuse etc etc etc. whats it costing us.Medical marijuana is just that , an effective medicine for many things. Proven over and over. Never 1 death by pot. Google it. Please try alcohol etc and see the numbers.Percription drugs are one of the highest killer of people. Google it


Posted on 23-05-2018 11:28 | By Marshal

Some people should try living in the present. Instead of living in constant fear of the future.. The country of Nepal is awash with wild cannabis.. Now P problem, and the country hasn’t descended into Chaos ..

no welfare for users

Posted on 23-05-2018 08:46 | By Captain Sensible

There would also need to be a law that there is no welfare money for users. The workers in NZ are sick of having our money taken from us to give to people that can’t be bothered working. Also, imagine the problems when people are dismissed from work for testing positive to what may be, a legal drug that hangs around in their system for weeks.

Oh dear

Posted on 23-05-2018 07:37 | By maildrop

May as well legalise P too given the number of people driving about high on both. Got to get those prisons emptied. It’s the thin end of the wedge. We are going down the tubes.

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