The topic of recreational cannabis reform is absolutely atop the country’s election debate as New Zealand stares down its own national elections on October 17. Originally scheduled to take place on September 19 but delayed because of COVID, the vote for rec reform is not expected to be successful.
The majority of New Zealanders do want to see more medical reform, and the topic is likely to be a big issue going forward, particularly, if as expected, the recreational reform campaign fails at the ballot box. The country, like many others, is now beginning to quantify and structure its medical industry. That said, a full-boat “Canadian” if not U.S. state style cannabiz appears to be just a bit too forward for the Kiwis this year. And if it fails, the topic is also likely to get booted down the political pike for several years, at least.
The topic of recreational reform, however, is still enough of a political bug bear that defending Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was forced to admit recreational use “a long time ago” in her most recent televised debate against her opponent. She has so far refused to say how she will vote on recreational reform herself.
Is Recreational Taking A Breather?
Canna history is likely to show that 2020 was clearly a transitional year for the entire industry, globally, but recreational was far from the top of the agenda just about anywhere.
There are reasons for this apart from bureaucratic decisions that are still far removed from science.
The UN is likely to reset the entire debate about the plant itself as of the end of the year – no matter what it decides.
From that point on, other countries (see Luxembourg) are likely to take the ball forward, but only against a medical discussion that first and foremost recognizes the plant and its extracts as at minimum a kind of superfood if not wonder drug.
2021 is likely to see a restart of the discussion across Europe, particularly given what has happened here so far, particularly with a greater interest in hemp and extracts as a way forward to wellness, beyond a visit to the doctor.
For the latest on industry trends be sure to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe next year.