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Cannabis referendum: Legal edibles, age restrictions and purchasing limits

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 3/12/2019
a close up of a plant © Unsplash / Shane Rounce

Edible cannabis products will be legal under new legislation that the public will decide on at a referendum next year.

Justice Minister Andrew Little has released the draft bill for all political parties to provide feedback on and the first step of a public education campaign ahead of the country going to the polls in 2020.

James Shaw, Andrew Little are posing for a picture © RNZ /Dom Thomas

The public will be asked a simple yes/no referendum question and if it passes, Parliament will then pass legislation to make it lawful.

If the referendum results in a no vote, then the status quo will continue.

* Read the draft bill online here

The bill includes a minimum age of 20 to use and purchase cannabis, and controls will ensure the potency of the products are regulated.

It also allows for a state licensing regime of cannabis-infused products, such as edibles.

There will also be a purchasing limit - users will only be able to buy a maximum of 14 grams per day - and there will also a limit on the total amount of cannabis grown under licence.

Justice Minister Andrew Little and Green Party leader James Shaw at today's announcement Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Mr Little has invited representatives from each party represented in Parliament to meet with him on Thursday to provide their feedback on the draft bill.

"My aim is to have the final draft Bill available by early next year, so there is time to argue for change,'' he said.

In late October, Mr Little announced plans to combat misinformation and manipulation in any campaigns leading up to the cannabis and the End of Life Choice bills.

The plans included a special team within the Ministry of Justice to direct people to information aimed to be as accurate and neutral as possible, and to be on the look-out for any attempts to deliberately mislead the public.

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