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New Zealand Government Unveils Draft Cannabis Legalization Proposal

The New Zealand government has unveiled a draft cannabis legalization proposal that will be the subject of a voter referendum in 2020. The voter referendum will take place alongside the general elections to be held in the country next year.

The draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill shows the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if the voters choose to legalize cannabis.

The draft bill outlines the basic elements of legalizing and establishing a regulated cannabis market for adult use. The draft bill will be updated with more details by early next year ahead of the referendum vote, after taking into the account the public feedback on the draft bill released now.

"By making the referendum questions and the initial draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill available early the intention is to encourage public awareness and discussion. It is important that the public feel they can meaningfully participate in the referendum process," New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little said.

Little added that the primary objective of the legislation is to reduce overall cannabis use and limit the ability of young people to access cannabis.

If more than 50 percent of voters approve the legislation, the incoming government after next year's election will have to introduce a bill to the Parliament that would make recreational use of cannabis legal.

The core measures of the proposed scheme include setting a minimum age limit of 20 years to purchase and use marijuana products, restricting consumption of marijuana to private homes and licensed premises, prescribing conditions for personal growing and sharing of marijuana, and licensing the whole of the supply chain.

The bill would also limit sale of cannabis to specifically licensed physical stores, indicating that consumers will not be able to buy online or order marijuana remotely.

The proposed scheme also calls for a ban on all marketing and advertising of cannabis products and establishing a state licensing regime that would give the New Zealand government control over all stages of the supply chain.

It will also place a limit on the amount of cannabis that can be grown by manufactures and cultivators.

Individuals will be able to buy up to 14 grams of cannabis per day as well as cultivate up to two plants per person and a maximum of four plants per household.

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