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New Zealand to hold referendum on legalising cannabis


2017-10-20

New Zealand will hold a referendum on legalising the recreational use of cannabis in the next three years, its prime minister-elect has pledged.

Jacinda Ardern said she did not personally support imprisoning people for using cannabis but wanted to hear New Zealanders’ views.

Ms Ardern received a standing ovation at a meeting of her Labour Party.
She will head a three-way coalition with the Greens and nationalist party New Zealand First (NZF).
Ms Ardern, 37, emerged as the surprise new leader after weeks of negotiation following September’s inconclusive election, which resulted in a hung parliament.

The incumbent National Party won 56 seats – two more than the Labour-Green bloc – but was unable to agree a governing coalition.

The coalition sees an uneasy alignment between the Greens and NZF, which have previously clashed over issues including immigration policy.

But Ms Ardern has denied her government is a “coalition of the losers” and says she is hopeful it will see out its term.
Detailed discussions on policy will take place next week but Ms Ardern promised a “government of change” in remarks on Friday.
She reiterated her support for a referendum on legalising personal cannabis use, saying she had “always been very open” about her opposition to criminalisation.

-BBC