New Zealand Recreational Use Vote On The Fence
With two months until the vote, opinion polls in New Zealand are beginning to pull slightly ahead in favour of legalization of adult-use cannabis. According to one poll which was published at the end of June, 56% of respondents plan to vote for legalization on September 19. Slightly more women than men (59 to 52%) plan to change the law.
The reason this national vote is quite so momentous is that this is also the date of the New Zealand national elections for president. When Americans go to the polls in November, however, they do not get to vote on federal national reform of the recreational kind. That is why the Kiwi vote is also one the rest of the world is watching right now.
Here is the other interesting nugget about the timing. Beyond the general political refurbishment on the regular schedule, in other words, and cannabis legalization, there are also other big issues on the ballot, like right to die regulations. Beyond legalizing adult use, in other words, there are major public policy issues at stake as well as a national election that are also likely to create heavy turnout and draw out both older and younger voters. Older voters everywhere are also beginning to come around on the issue, but even in New Zealand, this is a demographic with the lowest support for recreational reform. As usual, the highest numbers poll in those in their twenties and thirties.
Why Would A Victory In New Zealand Matter?
This is a very strategic election right now, globally, for the entire issue of cannabis reform. If the measure passes, it will also turn the country into the third (after Canada and Uruguay) which have effectively normalized the entire cannabis conversation.
This in turn will only galvanize activists if not the industry elsewhere – most notably both Europe and the United States (if not Australia beyond that). The industry is slowly starting to normalize, but the endless problems between in-progress regulations (and of every kind) and reform still on drawing boards is absolutely hindering the industry everywhere.
If the Kiwis in other words, move to legalize cannabis for consumers over 20 years old in September, look for that green tide to sweep globally.
The next step for recreational reform is clearly on the agenda will, in other words, be given a big push forward.
For evolving updates on global policy and business regulations, be sure to stay tuned to the International Cannabis Business Conference blog and the return of the conferences everywhere!