New Zealand Cannabis Legalization Vote Moved To October
New Zealand is the only country voting on a national cannabis legalization measure in 2020. As of right now, adult-use cannabis is only legal in two countries – Uruguay and Canada.
Two other countries, Mexico and Italy, are in the process of implementing previous court rulings which determined that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional in those nations.
A handful of other countries are exploring pilot programs that would legalize cannabis for adult-use in limited instances.
The cannabis legalization measure in New Zealand is part of the overall General Election, which was originally scheduled to take place on September 19, 2020. However, a recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the election, and with it the vote on legalization, being moved to October. Per Stuff:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed the 2020 election by a month, with a new polling day set for October 17.
Ardern has been under increasing pressure to delay the election, previously set for September 19, after Auckland was placed in a two-week lockdown due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the community, leading to a halt in most political campaigning.
Parliament will now dissolve on September 6, with early voting starting on October 3 and overseas voting starting on September 30. The two referendums scheduled to coincide with the election will also be moved.
Polling for the cannabis legalization measure has been all over the board, with some polls showing it losing and others showing that it will win once it is voted on. Ultimately, only time will tell.
The delayed vote could prove to be a blessing for cannabis advocates because it gives them more time to convince voters that cannabis prohibition is a failure and that it’s time for a more sensible approach.
To be fair, it also provides more time for opponents to pursue their goal of convincing voters in New Zealand that prohibition is working.