New Zealand voters soon will weigh in on cannabis legalization

A measure to legalize recreational cannabis will be on the ballot in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020, according to a government official.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said lawmakers are deciding whether to hold a stand-alone referendum next year or concurrently with the country’s elections in 2020, Radio New Zealand reported.

The governing Labour Party agreed to hold the referendum to get the Green Party’s support to form a coalition government after the 2017 election.

Meanwhile, a bill to lay the groundwork for a regulated medical cannabis industry is in the works.

If the government’s bill wins approval, it would ultimately create a domestic medical marijuana market, giving terminally ill people and those suffering from chronic pain a legal avenue to acquire MMJ.

The bill is currently before the Health Committee.

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