New Zealand makes final preparations for cannabis, end of life choice referendums

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-03 17:01:33|Editor: ZX
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WELLINGTON, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The first release of public information on the two referendums, cannabis and the end of life choice, to be held at next year's general elections, was made on Tuesday with an informative new government website going live.

Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if the voters choose to legalize cannabis, Justice Minister Andrew Little said on Tuesday.

The first cross-party meeting on the Cannabis Bill will occur later this week.

"It is important that voters go into the 2020 General Election informed about the referendums. The government is committed to a well-informed, impartial referendum process," Little said.

"By making the referendum questions and the initial draft Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill available early, the intention is to encourage public awareness and discussion. It is important that the public feel they can meaningfully participate in the referendum process," he said.

The final draft bill will be available by early next year, "so there is time to argue for change," Little said.

The wording of the two referendums' questions have also been confirmed as a straight Yes/No question: Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill? Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2017 coming into force?

The website, provides information on the draft Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill and the End of Life Choice Act.

"The primary objective of the legislation is to reduce overall cannabis use and limit the ability of young people to access cannabis," Little said

In order for the 2020 cannabis referendum to be effective, the public need to know what will happen afterwards. A "No" vote would mean continuation of the status quo. In the event of a "Yes" vote, the parties making up the government have committed to honoring voters' choice at the referendum, the minister said.

Regarding the end of life choice legislation, a 50-percent majority voting "Yes" at the referendum will mean that the act will come into force 12 months after the result is known, he added.