New Zealand releases draft cannabis legislation, unveiling purchase limits and supply details

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The government of New Zealand has released its draft cannabis legislation as the referendum regarding federal legalization draws nearer with the next election.

The legislation stresses education and harm reduction, and borrows heavily from both the Canadian legalization model, which allows private companies to produce and sell cannabis products, and that of Uruguay, which adopted a more government-controlled, as opposed to profit-focused, model.

The draft bill restricts purchasing and possessing the drug to Kiwis aged 20 years and up, implements strict parameters regarding advertising and promotion, and outlines measures of the licensing necessary to produce and sell cannabis.

“The primary objective of the legislation is to reduce overall cannabis use and limit the ability of young people to access cannabis,” Justice Minister Andrew Little said in a public statement.

There are still some details of the potential legalization plan that has yet to be established, notably drug driving laws including roadside testing, and workplace drug testing rules.

The legislation would implement a purchase limit of 14 g per day per person, which the government has decided is the about of cannabis consumed weekly by a regular user.

Home cultivation is permitted under the prospective rules, but residents would be limited to growing two plants per person, and four plants per household.

Other important aspects of the draft law include implementing harm reduction strategies at retail cannabis outlets, placing a ban on the advertising, marketing and promotion of cannabis products, limiting cannabis sales to brick-and-mortar stores with a ban on online sales, caps on the amount of cannabis that can be produced in the country, and limiting consumption to private homes and/or designated areas.

New Zealand’s decision to consider legalizing cannabis comes in the wake of the country’s problem with synthetic cannabinoid consumption that has led to hospitalizations, road accidents, and deaths.

View the full draft legislation here.

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