New Zealand Divided Over Historic Marijuana Vote | World News

by Newsfeed

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A referendum next month on legalising recreational cannabis has divided opinion in New Zealand with ruling party politicians staying clear of the contentious issue ahead of a general election they are likely to win.

If passed, New Zealand would be only the third country in the world after Uruguay and Canada to legalise the adult use and sale of cannabis, and the first in the Asia Pacific. The referendum will be held along with the Oct. 17 general election in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seeking a second term.

Ardern is a strong favourite to win the election but opinion is sharply divided on the referendum – 49.5% of respondents in a nationwide Horizon Research survey earlier this month said they were in favour of legalising cannabis while 49.5% were against, and 1% gave no response.

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