New Zealand Government Publishes First Draft Cannabis Bill

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New Zealanders will go to the polls on September 19 to vote on recreational cannabis reform. The draft referendum has now been published.

Here are the main points of the legislation, which assume, broadly, that the measure will pass:

  • Adults 20 years and older will be able to buy products from licensed stores (no home delivery allowed)
  • Purchases will be limited to 14 grams of flower at a time
  • No advertising will be allowed. Plain packaging will be mandated
  • Home grow will be limited to two plants per person and 4 per household

Social Responsibility A Big Part Of The Legislation

One of the most interesting parts of the draft legislation is its desire to address issues that have plagued the industry just about everywhere else. Notably, the intent seems to be less profitability and revenues and more about a “race to the top.” Namely social responsibility and inclusion seem to be on the front burner of reform here.

No one company will be able to control more than 20% of the market share, and further, there will be set-asides for micro cultivators.

So far, this kind of mandate has been unseen in any other national cannabis reform.

What Might Be Available?

The first products to become available will be fresh and dried cannabis, plants, and seeds. However, edibles and concentrates will also be legal. Some products will be banned outright, including drinks and any packaged “cannabis containing roots or stems.”

Taxes will be applied at the point of packaging and labeling and will further be based on a combination of weight and potency.

Will The Referendum Succeed?

Passage of the referendum, of course, is still far from certain, but a growing number of Kiwis seem to think that recreational reform is a good idea. If passed, the country will become one of the few, outside Canada and Uruguay, that has taken the proverbial recreational cannabis bull by the horns. 

New Zealand has just started its medical cultivation program. It is conceivable that, because of this, the recreational referendum will fail. However, with the UN set to vote on the rescheduling of cannabis this December, and the desperate need for economic stimulus just about everywhere thanks to the current COVID-19 pandemic, plus growing support of the idea domestically, New Zealand might well, as of September, become a global leader in the ongoing cannabis discussion.

To stay abreast of the latest trends in the global cannabis industry, be sure to book your tickets to the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe!

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