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'No' vote for cannabis legalisation shrinks to 50.7 percent after final votes

Nov 06, 2020

The cannabis referendum result has narrowed significantly under special votes, but the 'no' vote has still prevailed.

After the special votes were counted, a total of 50.7 percent voted against cannabis law reform, while 48.4 percent were in favour of new legislation.

The End of Life Choice Act gained 65.2 percent support on election day, and after today's results has barely dropped to 65.1 percent.

Final results are now available, after about 500,000 special votes, from about 17 percent of voters, were counted.

Preliminary results on election night were 53 percent against the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, while 46 percent voted for legalisation of the drug.

Drug Foundation chairperson Tuari Potiki said although the majority of people had probably voted against the legalisation of cannabis, the government could still decriminalise the drug.

"There's a very clear call, I believe, through the referendum for some sort of change."

After the election, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had voted "yes" in the referendums on the legalisation of recreational cannabis and voluntary euthanasia.

She has committed to progressing legislation "in line with the will of the people following the release of the final results".

Potiki said action was needed following Ardern's statements.

"The prime minister comes out and says the reason she voted for legalisation was she believed people should not be criminalised," he said.

"We can't just say that and leave it."

National's drug reform spokesperson Nick Smith has said his party would not support any move that would make cannabis more readily available.

The special votes also meant the National Party lost two seats compared to election night, with Labour and the Māori Party picking up one each.


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