Cannabis legalisation and control referendum

Your guide to the 2020 referendum

In this year's General Election, you can also vote in a referendum on whether the recreational use of cannabis should become legal.

Your vote will be based on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which has been developed to help give New Zealanders an idea of how the law might work.


The referendum question is:

Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

You can choose 1 of these 2 answers.

Yes


I support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

No


I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.


About the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill

The proposed Bill sets out a way for the Government to control and regulate cannabis. This regulatory model covers how people can produce, supply, or consume cannabis.

The Bill's main purpose is to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities.


What's not included in this referendum?

The proposed Bill does not cover medicinal cannabis, hemp, driving while impaired, or workplace health and safety issues. These are covered by existing laws.

Medicinal cannabis is already legal under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme.

Learn about medicinal cannabis at health.govt.nz


The Bill legalises restricted access to cannabis

The Bill would allow people to possess and consume cannabis in limited circumstances.

A person aged 20 or over would be able to:

  • buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day only from licensed outlets
  • enter licensed premises where cannabis is sold or consumed
  • consume cannabis on private property or at a licensed premise
  • grow up to 2 plants, with a maximum of 4 plants per household
  • share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.

The Bill's purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities

The Bill intends to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities by:

  • providing access to legal cannabis that meets quality and potency requirements
  • eliminating the illegal supply of cannabis
  • raising awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use
  • restricting young people's access to cannabis
  • limiting the public visibility of cannabis
  • requiring health warnings on packaging and at the time of purchase
  • improving access to health and social services, and other kinds of support for families/whānau
  • making sure the response to any breach of the law is fair.

The Bill controls the production and supply of cannabis

The Bill would regulate how cannabis is produced and supplied by:

  • limiting the total amount of licensed cannabis for sale
  • controlling the potency and contents of licensed cannabis and cannabis products
  • applying an excise tax when a product is packaged and labelled for sale
  • setting up a licensing system under which all cannabis-related businesses must hold a licence
  • regulating location and trading hours for premises where cannabis is sold or consumed, in consultation with local communities
  • banning people from importing cannabis and allowing only licensed businesses to import cannabis seeds
  • separating businesses that are licensed to grow cannabis and produce cannabis products from businesses that are licensed to operate premises where cannabis can be sold and consumed.

What happens after the votes are counted?

If more than 50% of people vote 'Yes' in the referendum, recreational cannabis wouldn't become legal straight away. After the election, the incoming Government can introduce a Bill to Parliament that would legalise and control cannabis. This process would include the opportunity for the public to share their thoughts and ideas on how the law might work.

If more than 50% of people vote 'No' in the referendum, recreational cannabis would remain illegal, as is the current law.

Medicinal cannabis and hemp will not be affected by the outcome of the referendum. Medicinal use of cannabis will still be allowed if prescribed by a doctor, and hemp will still be legal.


More information to help you make your choice

Visit the Bill summary page to find out what the proposed law says about:

  • reducing harm from cannabis use
  • controlling access to cannabis
  • rules for growing and consuming cannabis
  • licensing requirements
  • rules for premises where cannabis is sold or consumed
  • cannabis products that would be legal
  • cannabis taxes, levies and fees.

Summary of the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill


End of Life Choice referendum

At this year's General Election, you'll also be given the opportunity to vote in the End of Life Choice referendum.

Learn more about the End of Life Choice referendum