New Zealand’s new Prime Minister is turning heads at the moment, after speaking frankly about legalizing medical cannabis…

Just this past Friday, Jacinda Ardern told the press that she intends to work closely with her new cabinet, to put forward a referendum regarding the legalization of cannabis.

The new Prime Minister was clear in her message, when she said, “During the campaign I’ve always been very vocal about the fact that I do not believe people should be imprisoned for the personal use of cannabis. On the flip-side, I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them.”

New Zealand is to be run by a coalition government for the time being, consisting of the Green Party of New Zealand and the populist party, NZ First. The Green Party’s manifesto states clearly that cannabis should be legal for personal use, whether medically or recreationally, and that includes possession and growing of the plant. At the same time, the party manifesto also calls for a legal age limit for cannabis, and the removal of penalties for anyone growing for medical use.

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Ross Bell, Executive Director at New Zealand Drug Foundation, said he regularly sees that people in New Zealand want to legalize cannabis, according to regular polls his organization carries out. As Bell told reporters,  “It is over 40-years-old and like many other countries, successive governments have not wanted to engage on this issue. Lo and behold the Green Party come along, and allows the country to have the sort of conversation we should have had for a long time.”

While the timing of any referendum is still unconfirmed, according to all accounts, the new government will most likely want to have the referendum, which would be binding, before 2020.

[Image credit- Pixabay]

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