New Zealand passed a significant legislation on Tuesday relaxing marijuana laws, decriminalizing its consumption and allowing critically ill patients to use the drug legally.
The bill passed with majority voting, paves way for legal consumption of medical marijuana with a legal defence if prosecuted.
Till now the cannabis consumption in the nation was governed by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 providing illegal status to cannabis consumption. In October 2017, the government of New Zealand First, Green Party and Labour announced a national poll of the legality of cannabis. There are plans to conduct the survey by 2019-20. This would ensure mass public participation in the critical decision-making process of the nation.
As stated by Health Minister David Clark, the new law “Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill” allows terminally ill patients to make use of weed products to ease pain without facing the possibility of prosecution. Several New Zealanders have been living with chronic health conditions and there exists strong evidence for medical benefits of the psychoactive weed drug. This is proposed as an intermediary setup until the full Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is set up.
As per the New Zealand Drug Foundation survey of 2016, almost 65% of respondents Kiwis prefer decriminalising cannabis.
However, opposition is against the law on the grounds that it fails to provide in-depth details of the planned medical marijuana scheme. This is expected to have dangerous impact as it would encourage public smoking in pot.
The legal move is criticized by few on the grounds that medical cannabis is acceptable but not the smoking of loose-leaf cannabis in public.
Marijuana legalization advocates are rejoicing over the growing popularity of the momentum with the nations across the globe in the process of weed legalization.
There has been significant easing of restrictions in medicinal cannabis research and manufacturing across the globe such as in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, India and many more.
Michigan has become a latest US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. While the legalization for medical use has been passed in both Utah and Missouri, but voters rejected a similar measure in North Dakota. Canada is another example to legalize marijuana for recreational use this October.
Lawmakers in countries such as Thailand, Chicago and New York are also walking on the decision path of legalizing cannabis consumption. As stated by Chicago Mayor, the nation has plans to invest revenue from marijuana sales to fund pension schemes.
Investors are eyeing companies belonging to legal cannabis industry. The stocks of Bod Australia Limited (ASX: BDA), Australia based manufacturer and supplier of medicinal cannabis, has shown impressive performance this year demonstrated by YTD return of around 17%.
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