New Zealanders Vote ‘No’ on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Early in October, we discussed the New Zealand bill on legalizing recreational marijuana. The votes were cast on October 17, when New Zealanders also voted in the general parliamentary elections and the referendum on legalizing euthanasia. Now, we finally have the preliminary results of both referendums.
As expected, New Zealanders supported the legalization of euthanasia, but the marijuana bill was narrowly defeated.
Out of the 2,415,547 votes, 53.1% were against, and 46.1% were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Polls conducted in the past few months predicted this outcome.
There are still 480,000 special votes to be cast, mostly from overseas ballots; however, these are highly unlikely to change the outcome. The existing number of votes against is simply too large for half a million votes to overturn the outcome (the largest majority of which would have to be in favor).
Even though the 21st century has brought New Zealand numerous major social reforms, legalizing marijuana has so far failed to join that list. The marijuana bill would have affected everyone in the country, so perhaps it is not so surprising that many opposed such a reform in a country where more than 80% of people vote in every election or referendum.
New Zealand still has a relatively high level of marijuana use, so the failed legalization attempt is not expected to change much for consumers.