Kiwi Kush? New Zealand Might Be The Next Country To Legalize Weed

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Kiwis want their kush according to a new national poll. Commissioned by supporters of the 'Yes' vote, the survey showed that 48 percent of New Zealanders support recreational use while 43 percent are against it. Medicinal marijuana is legal in the country. 

Voters will officially go to the polls on September 19 to make their decision as part of a referendum during a national election. 

For many watchdogs in the country, it's not an issue of if New Zealand will fully legalize, it's when. 

"Despite almost 55 years of prohibition, it is New Zealand's most widely used illicit drug,' New Zealand Drug Foundation chief executive Ross Bell told The Daily Mail, adding that cannabis was "a reality in New Zealand."

The government is gearing up

Behind the scenes, the New Zealand government has worked on a plan for legalization should the referendum pass. The model includes regulating and taxing the drug. Citizens 20 and up would be able to consume the drug at home or at cannabis cafes.

Other provisions of the bill include:

  • Allowing an eligible person to purchase and possess up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day.
  • Allowing each eligible person to grow up to two cannabis plants for personal use on their own property, up to a maximum of four plants per household.
  • A ban on marketing and advertising cannabis products
  • Requirement to include harm minimisation messaging on cannabis products
  • Confining use to private homes and licensed premises, and only in compliance with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.
  • Limiting the sale of recreational cannabis to physical stores (i.e. no online sales)
  • Control over the potency of recreational cannabis being sold
  • State licensing regime for recreational cannabis
  • Establishing the Cannabis Regulatory Authority to license and authorize supply

New Zealand's former Prime Minister Helen Clark is a leading proponent for legalization, arguing that prohibition wastes police resources and disproportionately places Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.

"Let's get real here," she said. "This is a widely used recreational drug that is less harmful for individual health than tobacco and alcohol. It's a no-brainer to stop wasting our taxpayer money."

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