New Zealand may become the third country to pass a cannabis legalization measure. It all depends on whether or not New Zealand voters approve a cannabis legalization referendum measure next month during New Zealand’s election.
The election in New Zealand was originally scheduled to occur this month, and along with it the vote on the legalization measure, however, a coronavirus outbreak resulted in the election being delayed by roughly a month.
Polling for the legalization measure has been all over the place, with several polls showing the measure winning and several others showing that the measure is losing. What will happen on Election Day in New Zealand, which is now October 17th, is anyone’s guess at this point.
The New Zealand legalization effort received a boost recently via a new poster campaign in support of the referendum. The poster campaign features 60 people expressing support for the measure, and one of those people is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. Per RNZ:
It includes some familiar faces, like Helen Clark, as well as everyday Kiwis who support legalisation.
Dame Diane Robertson is one of those 60 New Zealanders. She’s the executive director of the New Zealand Data Trust, and the former Auckland City Mission chief executive.
“I think it’s time we legalise something that has been commonly used but at the moment we’re penalising people, particularly people who are low income and Māori about a drug that a lot of people are using … it’s a waste of police time, of resources and it marginalises people.”
It’s not every day that a former prime minister of a nation endorses a national cannabis legalization effort. This is obviously a really big deal.
Whether or not it proves to be a big enough deal to resonate with enough New Zealand voters to push the measure over the top remains to be seen and we will ultimately find out on October 17th.
If the measure is successful New Zealand would become the third country to legalize cannabis for adult use along with Uruguay and Canada.