The New Zealand government has published the final version of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill which will go to a referendum with the election in September. The legalisation and control bill is established for regulating the manufacturing, supply, as well as consumption of cannabis to reduce harm to communities.
Initially, this bill was posted in December 2019, since then it has been updated on the referendum page of New Zealand government’s website and voting for this would be done at the time of the general election in September 2020.
On 1 May 2020, Andrew Little, Minister of Justice released the full and final edition of the cannabis legalisation and control bill. The bill offers a regulatory structure to legalise and control the manufacturing, ownership and use of cannabis in New Zealand.
The exposure draft also signifies that the regulatory regime would intend to raise public awareness of the cannabis consumption associated risks and decrease young individuals’ exposure to cannabis and includes details about-
- How the cannabis market would work and the phased introduction of cannabis starting with fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis plants and seeds.
- The rule of consumption at properties to be carried on.
- The process of approvals for cannabis formulations and which cannabis formulations would be prohibited.
- About the requirements for licensing.
- How the bill proposes to decrease cannabis exposure to young people.
- About the infringements and penalties.
The disclosure further implies that the regulatory government will intend to improve public awareness of the risks related to the consumption of cannabis and cut down on cannabis exposure towards young individuals.
Let us delve deep and discuss five key things from the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill-
Regulations for Premises for selling or consumption of Cannabis
The government has disclosed age limit, trading hours and some measures for retailers, sellers and consumers.
Age limit- An individual must be of 20 years or above to visit or hold job at properties where cannabis is traded or consumed. However, a person under 20 years could be employed by a licensed cannabis manufacturer or processor.
Trading hours- The minimum and maximum trading hours would be set for the stores where the cannabis products are consumed or sold. Local authorities would have rights to restrict hours, and the authorities may set trading hours, within the minimum and maximum limits.
People who are operating retail and consumption premises would need to-
- make sure that their workers have responsible host responsibilities prescribed by regulations.
- exhibit information about the legal obligations they must fulfil, consisting of minimising harm and fulfilling their obligations towards individuals who may possibly be harmed by intake of cannabis.
- abide by constraints on the demonstrated higher-risk items.
Individuals selling cannabis-related formulations would be liable for guaranteeing the limit for purchase is not outstripped.
Manufacturing, Holding, and Consuming Cannabis
The bill comprises of limits on growing cannabis for personal use. Individuals of 20 years or more can cultivate only two plants of cannabis on a land or that part of land with regard to which they possess a qualifying legal concern. If two or more people of twenty years or more are part of the same family, in that case, they can grow up to four cannabis plants.
Individual of twenty years or above would be able to hold up to 14 g of withered cannabis in the public domain.
If a person commits the infringement offence and goes against this limit of growing cannabis plant than the person would be liable to an infringement fee of approximately NZD 500 or fine imposed by a court not surpassing NZD 1,000.
Advertising of Cannabis Products Would be Banned
According to the control bill provided by New the Zealand government, no person may publish a cannabis product advertisement in New Zealand or arrange for any other person to publish in New Zealand, unless authorised.
As per the bill, notice or sign must be treated as a cannabis product advertisement if it conveys information related to warning for the use of cannabis or includes cannabis product purchase age information or warnings, health information or warnings, or both. Any sign or notice showed inside or outside the business store of a person who is into selling of cannabis product is also considered as advertisement.
Addition to this, the government also highlighted that even a message comprising any information related to cannabis product such as product health information or warnings and purchase age for cannabis product or warnings or both must be considered as an advertisement for cannabis formulation.
Cannabis formulations display in or from sales outlets is generally banned. A person who offers cannabis products for sale by retail or wholesale, must not allow any part of a cannabis product or package at the outside of or inside the individual's place of business to be for any reason visible.
Restrictions on the amount of THC and CBD
Cannabis products would have to show the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) and others, and maximum daily limits would be recommended. The limits for the amount of THC and others would-be set-in regulations to efficiently regulate the strength of cannabis and other cannabis-related formulations. The cannabis regulatory authority would be liable for establishing restrictions on the permissible levels of THC and other substances in cannabis.
Establishment of Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA)
The primary intent of the CRA is to supervise the regulation of supply including the use of cannabis in New Zealand in a manner that encourages the welfare of Kiwis, lessens the multiple harms related with cannabis application; and reduces the use of cannabis over a period of time.
CRA would co-operate with any other enforcement in law, regulatory, or statutory agency to operate the subsequent roles, including-
- The authority would be responsible for the licensing and authorising controlled activities in the supply chain of cannabis products;
- Authority has rights to set the criteria and conditions for licences as well as authorisations for controlled activities;
- The limits on the allowable levels of THC and other substances in cannabis are regulated by the cannabis regulatory authority;
- The authority would monitor and enforce compliance with licence and authorisation conditions;
- It would also analyse and collect information on the dynamics of the supply and requirement for, and use of cannabis in the country;
- The authority would promote and support the research that is focused on understanding and reporting on the use of cannabis across the country.
Regarding Voting in the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Referendum
The cannabis legalisation and control referendum will give kiwis opportunity to vote on whether they support the proposed bill or not.
The query (referendum) is as follows-