New Zealanders to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana for Recreational Use in the Next General Election - MJ Global Report
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New Zealanders to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana for Recreational Use in the Next General Election

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New Zealand marijuana

Finally, the decision to legalize marijuana in New Zealand has been placed on the country’s citizens. It means that New Zealand will become the first Asia-Pacific country as well as the only third across the globe to legalize pot.

Where the Journey Started

After the general election in 2017, the supply and confidence agreement between the Green party and the Labour party included the obligation for the government to have a referendum on cannabis law reform. The story was to legalize the personal use of cannabis.

The Chance has been Finally Given

After a discussion by the cabinet ministers, New Zealanders will finally have a chance to vote on legalizing cannabis in a referendum in the next general election.

According to Justice Minister Andrew Little, the referendum will be binding, as in to directly lead to the establishment of a legal cannabis market once approved.

How to Vote

The referendum will be carried out alongside the general election and voters will be asked a Yes/No question on legalizing the drug. Several other conditions are included in the draft law; they include:

  • 20 year should be the minimum age of purchasing and using cannabis
  • No advertising of cannabis products
  • Commercial supply controls that limit the use and sales of cannabis to licensed premises
  • A public education program
  • Home-growing as well as cultivation options to be limited

Things can change

It has been clearly stated that the voting will be binding simply because all the parties making the current government have agreed to respect the outcome. However, it’s not yet clear how fast the laws may soon be changed.

The general election is stipulated to take place in November 2020 which means even if a majority of voters agrees to legalize marijuana; it will be the new government to consider passing the legislation.

Interestingly, the opposition-National party is yet to confirm as to whether it’ll honor the referendum or not.

New Zealand’s Current Laws

Currently, in New Zealand, possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal. It is currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 with a maximum sentence for possessing it being imprisonment for not more than 3 months or $500 fine.

Cultivation of marijuana has a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment and dealing of cannabis counts for 8 years imprisonment. However, there’s an exception of prescription of medical cannabis with patients required to meet some specific criteria.

High Chances of Legalization

There have been several polling organizations that have taken opinion polls as well as surveys relating to the legislation of cannabis. The numbers suggest that there’s an increasing number in the country ready to get marijuana legalized.

For instance, it’s the most commonly used illicit drug in the country with over 80% of the nation’s folks above 21 years already tried it, and 10% using it regularly.

If New Zealand goes on to legislate cannabis, it will become the first Asia-pacific country to do so alongside Thailand that’s trying to enter into the arena. Canada, as well as some European countries like Spain and the Netherlands, have already legalized recreational. And of course, let’s not forget the U.S. states.

Photo by Ketan Kumawat from Pexels

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Cannabis News

Country doctors concerned on Ireland’s night walk to legalize cannabis

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Ireland cannabis

As proposals to liberalize cannabis laws are expected before Ireland’s cabinet in coming weeks, a panel of 20 doctors have raised distress over what they termed as ‘increasingly relaxed attitudes towards marijuana amongst the media, legislators, and commentators.’

The claim is that cannabis has now turned out to be the ubiquitous thing linked to drug-associated admissions to psychiatric hospitals throughout the country, mostly.

Furthermore, it’s the common drug that is involved in the new treatment sessions at a plethora of addiction services in Ireland. The doctors’ concern is that drug’s use during teenage increases risks of mental illness as well as impairments to thinking and memory.

Personal Possession of Cannabis

The proposals aimed at liberalizing the country’s drug laws are due to be brought to the Cabinet of the country in the coming days by the Minister of State for Drug Strategy Catherine Byrne.

The plans are that individuals caught with a little amount of the drugs will either be referred to a counseling or addiction service rather than being prosecuted.

The proposals came after a working group set in 2017 spent more than a year trying to examine alternative approaches to personal possession of illegal drugs. However, the group chaired by retired judge Garrett Sheehan didn’t produce an agreed report over the same issue.

Decriminalization

According to the doctors, decriminalization and legalization is different but agreed that both medical cannabis and decriminalization campaigns have all proven to…

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Former health execs accused of medical pot smuggling in Minnesota

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pot smuggling

After months of legal battles over the felony drug charges against the former chief medical officer of Vireo Health, Dr. Laura Bultman, and Vireo’s downtown White Plains dispensary, has been upheld.

A Court of Appeals in Minnesota upheld the charges rejecting the officers’ bid to toss the charges.  The appellate decision means that a trial is more likely now.

The Accusations

The two ex-Vireo senior execs were accused of smuggling medical marijuana from Minnesota to New York. The accusations note that the two used the firm’s armored automobile to move medicated cannabis oil between two states illegally.

After reviewing the case as to whether the laws addressed the smuggling of medical pot across the two-state borders well enough, the court ruled that the law didn’t allow the transfer.

The Legal Argument

According to the Minnesota regulations, the apparent smuggling case turns out to point out various legal arguments. For instance, the first argument could be either that some criminals desperately smuggled the medical cannabis in the armored SUV packed with almost $500,000 of cannabis oil.

The other scenario is that maybe respected corporate officers would have transported (behind the masks) the state-licensed medical cannabis from the Minnesota-based company to the affiliate in New York.

Some aspects of the case also have few other connections to the New York State’s medical cannabis program, like allegations that the cannabis oil was illegally sold to patients which were later tested…

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Bill to Form State-Chartered Banks for California Marijuana Industry in the Hands of the State’s Lawmakers

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California marijuana industry

Just a year later, again the bill that would enable the California marijuana industry to access the banking services from the state-chartered financial institutes, as well as credit unions, will be put on the sword. A year ago, a similar attempt to pass the state legislature failed.

So, will the lawmakers finally go ahead with the bill this time?

One thing is clear, the legal marijuana industry in California is struggling to compete favorably in the black market. The primary reason is that it faces great challenges, which include banking access as well as high taxes.  

State of the Proposed Law

For instance, Senate Bill 51 is meant to allow the state to license various private banks to easily handle the billions of dollars which are generated by the state’s legal cannabis industry.

The current situation in the state is that the pot retailers, as well as other cannabis companies, have been stopped from the long-established banking system.

Therefore, it means that the measure will now allow the
credit unions and private banks to safely apply for a state-charter to enable them to offer depository services to all licensed marijuana businesses.

As a common procedure for all state bills with a fiscal impact, the state Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday sent the SB 51 to the suspense file with the hearing staged on Thursday. It’s on…

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