Cannabis Legalization Officially On The 2020 Ballot In New Zealand

Cannabis Legalization Officially On The 2020 Ballot In New Zealand

Members of the New Zealand parliament have been negotiating a cannabis legalization referendum for more than two years now, and the final details of that bill have officially been released. The cannabis legalization and control referendum will appear on the general election ballot in September, and the people of New Zealand will make the final decision. 

The legislation, called the Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill, aims to establish a legal system and framework for regulating the possession, use, sale, and cultivation of cannabis in New Zealand.

“It has taken two and a half years of negotiation behind the scenes across our Parliament and decades of work by activist, advocates and researchers, who have sought to understand how best to create an evidence-informed approach to reduce drug harm in our communities,” Green Party drug reform spokesperson and member of parliament Chlöe Swarbrick said in video. “We are taking this conversation out of petty partisan politics and placing it in the hands of you.”

Bill Details

The Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill, if approved, will regulate how adults in New Zealand can consume, cultivate, and buy or sell marijuana for recreational purposes. Members of parliament report that they crafted this bill carefully, with the idea of harm-reduction in mind, to protect Kiwis of all ages throughout every part of the country. 

If approved, adults of at least 20 years of age will be permitted to purchase up to 14 grams of dried marijuana per day from a licensed facility. Like in the coffee-shops of the Netherlands, of-age Kiwis will also be able to consume cannabis on-site at licensed businesses. Each adult will be permitted to cultivate up to two cannabis plants at home with a maximum of only four plants per household. While it will remain illegal for any individual to sell cannabis to another person, they will be allowed to gift or share up to 14 grams.

Members of the New Zealand Parliament recognize that people are going to consume cannabis whether authorities approve of it or not. Under the current system where recreational marijuana is illegal, black market dealers make all of the profit, and the health of consumers is at the mercy of the unregulated cultivators.

New Zealand cannabis legalization referendum question

Buying cannabis on the black market can be dangerous because the plants are grown without strict regulations and quality control measures in place. This means that a grower may use harmful chemicals and the consumer would be none the wiser. 

Purchasing cannabis that has been lab-tested for contaminants from a licensed retail facility protects the consumer, thereby reducing harm to the people of New Zealand. Licensed retailers also prevent children from being able to make purchases by checking identification, something black market dealers are not commonly known to do.

If the people of New Zealand choose to approve the referendum in September, legal cannabis purchases will be taxed, and the tax revenue is estimated to be as much as $490 million each year.

Majority Support

According to a recent survey conducted by Horizon Research, 54 percent of people support legalizing cannabis in New Zealand. The poll also found that 83 percent of respondents believe that the current system of prohibition is not working, and 72 percent report that “having controls for growing and selling cannabis for personal use would be better for society.”

The most recent survey, conducted in March of this year, showed a six-point increase in support from a similar one that was taken in November 2019.

“Over the next six months, Kiwis need to consider who they ultimately want to control the cannabis market. It’s either gangs or government. Through regulation you can ensure product quality, a safer environment for Kiwis, and significant tax revenue for healthcare,” said Mr. Manning of the New Zealand medical marijuana company Helius Therapeutics.

Police in Netherlands Use Snow to Find Illegal Cannabis Grow Operations

Police in Netherlands Use Snow to Find Illegal Cannabis Grow Operations

Although the cannabis laws in the Netherlands are quite liberal compared to most nations of the world, the possession of more than five grams of dried plant material and cultivating more than five plants at home, remain illegal. Dutch police are finding creative ways to use the cold weather to track down large-scale, illegal grow operations.

Large-scale cannabis cultivation operations often require greater amounts of electricity and produce more heat than what would emanate from a home without growing plants. As a result of the heat, the snow on the roof of one such operation melted in a peculiar pattern as police in Utrecht were raiding the home. In this particular raid, authorities discovered 500 plants worth an estimated €50,000 (about $56,000).

This snow-melting pattern inspired the authorities to post a photo of the home on Twitter to alert citizens to watch out for similar situations because it could be the sign of another illegal cultivation site. In the twitter post, the police requested that concerned citizens report suspicious locations to authorities.

Politie Delft

This alternative investigation tactic is not the only out-of-the-box method being used by authorities. Police in the United Kingdom are also finding creative measures to be successful when searching for illegal cannabis cultivation sites.

The West Midlands Police in England used heat sensitive cameras, which can sense increased heat sources thousands of miles away, to find an operation in one of the top floors of the Nechells’ South Tower in Birmingham during a helicopter search. The photo below shows how the thermal camera found the operation. The window that appears to be glowing was housing 143 growing plants.

marijuana cultivation

Authorities in Ireland are also using more creative tactics. They handed out scratch-and-sniff cards, supposedly producing the scent of growing cannabis, to Irish citizens in order to encourage people to report buildings that smelled similarly in hopes of finding illegal cannabis cultivation sites.

These scratch-n-sniff cards were the reason police found a marijuana grow operation just 15 miles from Parliament.

ireland

photo credit: Haarlem Politie, West Midlands Police, Macleans

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