Is Weed Legal In New Zealand?

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Is weed legal in New Zealand? Medically, yes weed is legal in New Zealand. Recreationally, no weed is not legal in New Zealand. BUT, this could soon be changing. Like many other parts of the world, New Zealand is exploring their options to legalize weed for recreational use.

is weed legal in New Zealand

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Political Climate In New Zealand

Often when New Zealand makes international news, it is because of progressive social reforms. The country is often compared to the Scandinavian region, with human well-being playing a large role in decision making and policy changes.

New Zealand is looking to include cannabis law reform as a part of those well-being policy changes. Rather than simply writing these changes into law, New Zealand will be holding a referendum on the matter.

New Zealand Cannabis Referendum

New Zealand’s cannabis referendum will be on the 19th September 2020, the same time as their general election. Although the referendum is non-binding, it is largely believed that a majority either way will be acted upon.

The question on the referendum will be:

Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

Yes, I support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
No, I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

But what actually is the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill

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The cannabis legalisation and control bill is very much the run-of-the-mill kind of restrictions you’d normally see. If passed, the New Zealand government will be responsible for regulating the market in all aspects, from growing, supplying and using. Usage would only be permitted at home, or in licensed premises (cannabis cafes maybe?). Usage would also be restricted to people aged 20 or older. This is two years older than the drinking age in New Zealand, but a year younger than the drinking age in the United States.

You can read the full 65 page pdf if you so desire, but a few interesting points I noticed are:

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Growing Weed

  • A person can grow up to 2 plants on their property (whether they own or rent)
  • The maximum number of plants that can be grown at a single property is 4 (provided at least 2 people 20 years or older live there)
  • Breaching either of the above limits, but having less than 10 plants total may result in a fine of up to $1000 NZD
  • Breaching either of the above limits, but having 10 or more plants total may result in a maximum fine of $2000 NZD and a maximum prison sentence of 3 months
  • If growing plants, they must not be visible or accessible to the public

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Possession, Purchasing & Sharing Weed

  • Maximum possession in a public space is set at 14 grams of dried cannabis
  • Maximum purchase amount per day is also 14 grams of dried cannabis
  • You can legally share or gift cannabis to others 20 years or older, provided the amount is 14 grams or less, and there is no other material benefit (such as giving your neighbor a quarter in exchange for them mowing your lawn)

Will The Referendum Pass?

The above bill sounds great for the residents of New Zealand, giving them reasonable freedom around possession and growing. None of it matters though if the referendum doesn’t receive a majority. So, what are the current polls saying?

Currently, the polls are not looking great, but the referendum is still half a year away.

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PollDate of PollFor LegalizingAgainst LegalizingDon’t KnowAbstaining
1 NEWS Colmar BruntonJune 201939%52%8%1%
1 NEWS Colmar BruntonDecember 201943%49%6%1%
1 NEWS Colmar BruntonFebruary 202039%51%9%1%
Newshub Reid ResearchFebruary 202039%48%12%1%

With the most recent polls showing less than 40% in support, and around 50% opposed, proponents have an uphill battle on their hands.

Related:
Marijuana Laws Denmark

If you look anywhere in the world, you could reasonably expect to see that support for cannabis legalization has increased over the last few decades. If proponents can effectively use the next six months to convince the “don’t knows”, then they could be within a shot.

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