New Zealand has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. Its harsh drug laws and restrictive policing could not reduce drug use – it merely replaced the market and led to the use of more dangerous new psychoactive substances. In May 2019 the new Left-Green government published its draft legislation to reform cannabis laws in May 2019, and announced that it will undertake a referendum to ask people if they support it or not. According to the draft law, every adult could buy quality-controlled legal cannabis in licensed stores. What are the chances at the referendum and how will the new regulation look if adopted? We interviewed two activists who campaign for the Yes vote in the upcoming referendum – Ross Bell, the head of the New Zealand Drug Policy Foundation, and Tracey Potiki from Te Rau Ora about how they see their chances.


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