New Zealand narrowly votes no to legalising cannabis in referendumPosted by On

New Zealanders have voted not to legalise cannabis in a referendum that painted a portrait of a country starkly divided over drug policy.

The yes vote for legalising cannabis finished with 48.4% of the vote, trailing the no vote on 50.7% – or just 67,662 votes out of 2.9m.

In the lead-up to the October election polls showed a country divided, with support for legalising cannabis ranging between 30-50%.

In the non-binding referendum, voters were asked to decide whether they wanted to pass a bill that would legalise cannabis and regulate how it is used and sold. This would have included producing and selling fresh and dried cannabis, including plants and seeds – for people over 20 years old. The change would also have imposed more stringent restrictions than the rules around sales of alcohol and tobacco.

Andrew Geddis, a law professor at the University of Otago, said while there was no legal imperative for an incoming government to abide by the referendum result, it would be…

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