Up to 14 grams per day and 2 plants per citizen
New Zealand residents will vote in a few months for or against a bill that would allow people aged 20 and over to buy up to 14 grams of cannabis per day and grow up to two plants. Recent polls show that most residents (54%) intend to vote for legalization. The legal and recreational use of cannabis is supported by more than half of the Kiwis.
The New Zealand government released this week the final version the legalization bill which will be submitted to a referendum in the polls during the next elections. Elections were to be held in September but could be postponed to November due to the coronavirus. The bill sets the basis for a legal and regulated market for New Zealand adults, where the minimum age to buy is 20 years old. Youths under the age of 20 who are caught using cannabis will be fined or required to attend public relations meetings, but will not open any files or criminal records. The penalty for selling cannabis to young people under the age of 20 can be up to 4 years in prison.
The law also sets the maximum quantity of various cannabis products a person can buy in a store in a day, which is also the maximum quantity that he can hold at any given time:
- 14 grams of dry cannabis flower
- 70g fresh cannabis flower (not dried)
- 14 cannabis seeds
- 210 grams of edible cannabis products
- 980 grams of cannabis oil
- 3,5 grams of cannabis extract
The law emphasizes that it is allowed to transport the maximum quantity of a single product, for example, it is possible to have 14 grams of flowers or 210 grams of edible products - but not both at the same time.
In addition, the law allows anyone to grow up to two cannabis plants in their home. If he lives with other tenants, they are allowed to grow together in the same house up to a maximum of 4 plants.
Cannabis use will only be allowed in private homes or authorized places (which leaves an option for cafes designated for cannabis smokers below). The bill requires the investment of some of the tax benefits of cannabis in education and public health education, and places restrictions on the marketing and advertising of cannabis.
The government will establish a body called the Cannabis Regulatory Authority to oversee the industry, issue licenses for the cannabis sector, and promote public health. This body will also determine detailed tax policies on sales of cannabis. The bill stipulates that the tax on cannabis will be levied (indirect tax levied on luxury products such as cigarettes and alcohol), but it does not impose a specific tax rate but leaves it to the regulator to decide later.
In the first phase of legalization, only sales of cannabis inflorescence will be allowed, not other products. Subsequently, there will also be a sale of extracts and edible products - but not cannabis drinks, "rubber teddy bears" or any other food that might seem appealing to children.
If more than 50% of the voters vote in favor of the proposal, the new New Zealand government will be forced to legislate in this direction. You can read the full text of the bill here .
The New Zealand government has stated that the main objective of the bill is to reduce the harm associated with cannabis use and the rate of cannabis use through education and treatment programs. The secondary objective is to eliminate the illegal cannabis market, reduce the number of inmates in prison and ensure the quality of cannabis products for the health of consumers.
The New Zealand Legalization Bill is the product of an agreement signed between the Green Party and the Labor Party, after first placing legalization as a condition of joining a government led by Jacinda Ardern.
The surveys published last year felt that there were slightly more New Zealanders opposed to legalization than those who supported it, but new investigation published about a month ago shows for the first time a majority of 54% for the legalization project.