Cannabis legalization policy will set the legal consumption age at 20, would allow for cannabis ‘coffee shops,’ and would permit home grows in New Zealand. Voters will have their chance later this year to vote in one of two referendums at this year’s general election.
The proposed cannabis legalization will ban items designed to appeal to children and set a four-year prison term for selling to under 20-year-olds.
The final version of the bill also confirmed that the wording of the cannabis referendum question will be a straight ‘Yes or No‘ option. The hope is that this will avoid any confusion.
The cannabis market would be overseen by the New Zealand Cannabis Regulatory Authority.
Anyone 20 years and older will be allowed to buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day but only from licensed outlets.
Individuals will also be able to grow up to two plants, with a maximum of four plants per household and share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority will collect fines of up to $500 for the use of cannabis in public and up to four years in prison for supplying cannabis to anyone under 20 years of age.
However, anyone under the age of 20 found in possession of cannabis would not face conviction. They would receive a “health-based response” such as an education session, social or health service, or they would pay a small fee or fine.
Cannabis Coffee shops are coming
The New Zealand bill would include BYO cafes, but they would not be able to sell alcohol or tobacco. Smoking or vaping cannabis indoors would, however, be allowed.
Lastly, the bill bans advertising, promotion, and sponsorships by cannabis products and cannabis businesses.
A cap would limit the amount of cannabis available for sale in the licensed market and no licensee would be allowed to hold more than 20 percent of that cap.