The information below has been extracted from the government site https://www.referendums.govt.nz/cannabis/index.html
The Referendum Question is:
“Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?” Choose either Yes or No:
Yes. I support the proposed Cannabis and Legislation Control Bill.
No. I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill.
Watch the video of our webinar, below.
Featuring 5 expert speakers: Aaron Ironsides, Hon Chester Borrows, Nikita Costello, Dr Phil Shoemack, Dr Tony Farrell.
MC. Nigel Tutt
What happens after the votes are counted?
If more than 50% of people vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum, recreational cannabis wouldn’t become legal straight away. After the election, the incoming Government can introduce a Bill to Parliament that would legalise 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 more than 50% of people vote ‘No’ in the referendum, recreational cannabis would remain illegal, as is the current law.
Medicinal cannabis and hemp will not be affected by the outcome of the referendum. Medicinal use of cannabis will still be allowed if prescribed by a doctor, and hemp will still be legal.
About the draft Bill
The proposed Bill sets out a way for the Government to control and regulate cannabis. This regulatory model covers how people can produce, supply, or consume cannabis.
A draft has been released and can be seen here:
The Bill’s main purpose is to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities.
The proposed Bill does not cover medicinal cannabis, hemp, driving while impaired, or workplace health and safety issues. These are covered by existing laws.
Medicinal cannabis is already legal under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme.
The Bill legalises restricted access to cannabis
The Bill would allow people to possess and consume cannabis in limited circumstances.
A person aged 20 or over would be able to:
- buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day only from licensed outlets
- enter licensed premises where cannabis is sold or consumed
- consume cannabis on private property or at a licensed premise
- grow up to 2 plants, with a maximum of 4 plants per household
- share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.
The Bill’s purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities
The Bill intends to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities by:
- providing access to legal cannabis that meets quality and potency requirements
- eliminating the illegal supply of cannabis
- raising awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use
- restricting young people’s access to cannabis
- limiting the public visibility of cannabis
- requiring health warnings on packaging and at the time of purchase
- improving access to health and social services, and other kinds of support for families/whānau
- making sure the response to any breach of the law is fair.
The Bill would regulate how cannabis is produced and supplied by:
- limiting the total amount of licensed cannabis for sale
- controlling the potency and contents of licensed cannabis and cannabis products
- applying an excise tax when a product is packaged and labelled for sale
- setting up a licensing system under which all cannabis-related businesses must hold a licence
- regulating location and trading hours for premises where cannabis is sold or consumed, in consultation with local communities
- banning people from importing cannabis and allowing only licensed businesses to import cannabis seeds
- separating businesses that are licensed to grow cannabis and produce cannabis products from businesses that are licensed to operate premises where cannabis can be sold and consumed.
The Bill would prohibit people younger than 20 from growing, possessing and consuming cannabis
A person under age 20 found in possession of cannabis would receive a health-based response such as an education session, social or health service, or they would pay a small fee or fine. This would not lead to a conviction.
People would get information about consuming and storing cannabis safely
- Products would be labelled with information to support buying decisions, including health warnings and how the product compares to the daily purchase limit.
- Good-practice guidelines, health promotion, awareness and education would support people to consume, grow and store cannabis safely.
Licensing, production caps and potency limits
Under the Bill, all aspects of the supply chain for cannabis would be regulated.
Everyone involved in applying for a licence would be assessed for suitability
An assessment would apply to all licence applicants, directors, and people overseeing cannabis operations under an authorisation. This assessment would consider their ability to comply with requirements, disqualifying factors, and any other factors which influence the person’s suitability. Police vetting would be included in this process. Some less serious previous convictions will not, on their own, disqualify the person.
A cap on production would limit how much cannabis is for sale
A cap would limit the amount of cannabis available for sale in the licensed market. Licensed businesses would apply for a portion of the cap. The Authority would be able to adjust the cap each year as required. No licence holder would be able to hold more than 20% of the cap.
The Bill includes 3 guiding principles, which the Authority would apply when deciding which businesses would be given a portion of the cap. The Authority would consider the degree to which the licence applicant:
- represents or partners with communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis
- generates social benefit and builds community partnerships
- promotes employment opportunities and career pathways.
The cap could change over time and affect the amount of cannabis businesses would be able to supply to the market.
Part of the cap would be set aside for micro-cultivators (licensed businesses growing on a small scale).
Businesses allowed to grow cannabis would not be able to operate premises where cannabis is sold or consumed.
Potency limits and quality standards would apply
Potency (strength) limits and quality standards would be set for cannabis and cannabis products, and businesses would need to comply.
Cannabis products would have to go through an approval process before being released to the market. Higher risk products would have to go through a stricter process.
Products deemed to appeal to children or young people would not be approved.