New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum picks up key backer

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Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is supporting the nation’s binding 2020 referendum on ending cannabis prohibition.

In an opinion piece published in the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper titled “Cannabis prohibition does not function anyplace It is New Zealand’s turn to legalize it,” Clark urged voters to make New Zealand the initially Group of 20 nation in Oceania to legalize marijuana.

Such a move would open the door to a industry valued at pretty much 1 billion New Zealand dollars ($630 million), according to an estimate by U.K.-based analytics firm Prohibition Partners.

“The time has come for New Zealand to face up to the widespread use and provide of cannabis in the nation and to legalize it and regulate it accordingly. No valuable goal is served by keeping its illegal status,” she wrote.

A report published by her believe tank, The Helen Clark Foundation, earlier this week noted that New Zealand would then be capable to pick out among Canada’s for-profit model and the largely state-run method adopted by Uruguay.

In the paper, “The Case for YES,” the foundation urged the government to “develop a structure for a legal industry which prevents and/or discourages the emergence of substantial, industrial, for-profit cannabis producers and retailers.”

Separately, the New Zealand government solicited feedback on proposed healthcare cannabis regulations till Aug. 9.

The government aims to finalize by mid-December the regulations to implement a healthcare cannabis plan in the initially quarter of 2020.

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