It’s time to take control of cannabis on our terms.

The upcoming referendum is our opportunity to make cannabis legal on New Zealand’s terms. Terms that reflect us as a nation, which will put clear control measures in place to help create a much healthier and safer place to live. Together, let’s vote ‘YES’ and do this our way.

Cannabis Control Referendum
17 October 2020
Vote yes on our terms
Key controls
Here are 8 key control measures of The Bill.
At the referendum we’ll be voting on whether to implement the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill and make cannabis legal.
Khylee Flat

Tax revenue will go towards drug education and treatment.

We will all benefit from as much as $490M of new annual taxes from legalising and controlling cannabis.

Legalisation means the government takes control over the cannabis market, from seed to sale.

It also allows us to tax cannabis and use that income for health and education services for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

Tim M Flat

It will free up police time to focus on serious crime.

If we pass the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, our police force will be freed up to focus on serious crime.

Each year, we spend almost $200 million and over 330,000 police hours on cannabis enforcement and convictions. These are significant police resources which should be put to better use protecting us all from serious crimes.

This law change would also see thousands fewer New Zealanders convicted each year – avoiding lifelong impacts on employment, study and travel

MM flat

Increased access for those who use it for medical treatment.

The evidence is clear that cannabis can be an effective medicine for a range of conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain and nausea from some cancer treatments.

While medicinal cannabis is technically legal in New Zealand with a prescription, there are few products
available and they are very expensive because they are not subsidised.
Medicinal cannabis products are out of reach of most New Zealanders, even those
who have a life threatening or debilitating condition.

So despite the medical scheme, patients are still forced to source illicit products, putting them at risk of a conviction, We had high hopes for the medical scheme, but unfortunately it’s just not a model that puts the patient first.

Legal cannabis would mean easier access to a wider range of products, and would make prices more affordable. Patients will be able to access the medicine that works for them without fear of prosecution.

Cannabis will remain strictly illegal for anyone under 20 years old.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill creates a set of rules to allow adults who choose to use cannabis to purchase cannabis products, with strong consumer protections. You cannot buy or use cannabis if you are under 20-years old.

This sends a very clear message that cannabis is for adults only.

Another way we can send that clear message to young people is through better drug education in schools, which will be funded with the tax on cannabis. Marketing and advertising will not be allowed – you won’t see the All Blacks sponsored by a cannabis company.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has very tough punishments for those who sell or supply cannabis to young people.

Hinemoa flat

Potency levels will be limited for safety.

A new agency called the Cannabis Regulatory Authority will be responsible for setting limits for different classes of cannabis product. To do that, they’ll consult with a wide range of stakeholders including Māori and young people. They’ll look at current potency levels in NZ and consider how they can reduce problematic use, and prevent over-consumption, while reducing the size of the illicit market. The Government has suggested an initial maximum potency of 15% THC for cannabis flower and 5 mg THC per package for edibles.

Setting a maximum potency level is an important way to promote safer cannabis use, and we’re pleased with the careful processes in place to make sure this is done well.

Anna R ag flat

Sales restricted to licensed premises.

Licensed shops will be stand alone and will only sell cannabis – there will be no access at dairies or supermarkets. When giving out licences for specialist cannabis stores, the Cannabis Authority must give priority to not-for-profit entities that can demonstrate a social benefit to the community, and take into account where shops will be located. This means stores won’t be situated near schools or churches, and stores won’t be concentrated in poorer neighbourhood as has happened with bottle shops and pokies.

Surej Flat

No consumption in public spaces.

Other than in licensed consumption spaces, it will only be legal to consume at home – not on the street, or in parks.

We won’t be seeing Amsterdam-style cafes here. We will have some consumption spaces, but in most venues, cannabis will be BYO. Smoke-free laws will apply. The spaces will be focused on providing a safe space to use so that people do not use cannabis in public. They’ll have strict opening hours, and will be hard to spot from the street so that they don’t attract new customers, particularly young people.

Tim B Flat

There will be plain packaging and clear warning labels, with zero advertising.

There will be no advertising, special deals, sponsorship or fancy packaging allowed and significant penalties for companies and individuals who breach this.

There will be strict guidelines around the display of cannabis products both inside shops and point of sale will contain health information and warning signs. No products will be visible outside stores.

Standard products such as dried and fresh cannabis can be displayed inside, and high risk products (such as edibles and concentrates) can’t.

Meet New Zealanders voting yes on their terms

Anna R ag flat
"We finally have the chance to take control of cannabis. Controlling where it comes from, and restricting sales to only officially licensed businesses. "
Anna , Consultant, Writer
Richie Flat
"One thing in the bill I feel strongly about is keeping cannabis illegal to kids, teenagers and anyone under 20."
Richie , Educator, Activist
"Parents already have enough to worry about what their kids up to. That’s why I’m voting ‘YES’ at the Cannabis Control referendum. "
Anna , Social Entrepreneur, Mum
Grace Flat
"Passing this bill would result in more research, greater access to and destigmatisation of medical cannabis use for those who really need it. "
Grace , Young Professional
HA Flat scaled
"On September 19th, we get the chance to have our say on cannabis, but on New Zealand’s terms. Which includes zero advertising or any fancy packaging."
Hannah and Andrew , Young Professionals, Couple
Kaya DSC Flat
"We have the chance to take control of cannabis. Like it remaining absolutely illegal to anyone under the age of 20 - which is really important to me and my family."
Kaya , Retired Mental Health Professional, Grandmother
Hinemoa flat
"The Cannabis Control Referendum is our opportunity to enforce safer potency levels. Which means those who need access to it, will know exactly what they’re getting - no surprises. "
Hinemoa , Psychiatrist, Mother
Karl Flat
"If someone close to me ever needed cannabis for medical reasons, then I wouldn’t want access to be an issue. Or huge price tags. Or any added stress to what would already be a tough situation. "
Karl , Company Director
Khylee Flat
"Rather than penalising people over cannabis, I believe we should helping them. Which is why I’m voting ‘YES’ at the Cannabis Control Referendum. "
Khylee , Associate Professor, Mum
MM flat
"If someone you knew was suffering and needed medicinal cannabis treatment, then they should be able to access it...without it costing them everything they’ve got. "
Melanie and Malcolm , Ecostore Founders, Parents
Surej Flat
"Voting ‘YES’ will see us take control over the market, from seed to sale, and everything in between. With taxes collected coming back to support health and education for all Kiwis. "
Surej , Economics Graduate
Tim M Flat
"If we vote ‘YES’ at the upcoming Cannabis Control Referendum, we’re voting to do this on our terms. Which includes no smoking or consumption in public, whatsoever. "
Tim , Former Detective, Advocate
Tim B Flat
"By voting ‘YES’ I’ll be supporting plain packaging and clear warning labels."
Tim , Comedian, Small Business Owner
Watch our video

Despite cannabis being illegal in New Zealand, anyone can buy it easily.

We all want a happier, healthier, more equal New Zealand.

Despite cannabis being illegal in New Zealand, anyone can buy it easily.
roy peak scaled

Around 590,000 New Zealanders used cannabis last year. Our current law is clearly not working.

We know that cannabis, like any drug, can do harm, especially if you use it when you’re young, use heavily or use high potency products. Because cannabis is illegal, we have no control over it right now.

We all want a happier, healthier, more equal New Zealand.
Grace Flat scaled

For the Drug Foundation, that means treating cannabis use as a health and social issue.

The purpose of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill is to put those controls in place, from seed to sale. This will make it safer, and help New Zealanders to reduce harmful use over time.

The draft Bill is strong policy and is a world-leading piece of public health legislation that has been formed on our terms.

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