Marijuana Vote Divides New Zealand; PM Admits Having Used Cannabis

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she tried cannabis “a long time ago” when asked ahead of the October general election.

Jessica David

October 1, 2020

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During a debate with her rival in the New Zealand election campaign, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted to smoking cannabis. When she was pressed by the moderator of the live national election debate on Wednesday (September 30), the Labour Party leader said she had tried marijuana “a long time ago” in her youth. Ardern had previously deferred on the topic, saying, “I was once a Mormon and then I wasn’t. That’s how I’ll put that.’ Cannabis is currently illegal in New Zealand, but the country will vote on a long-awaited Cannabis Referendum next month.

The country already allows the use of medical marijuana, with a doctor’s prescription. Ardern said she will only reveal which way she votes on the cannabis referendum after the October 17, 2020 election. “I made a clear decision that I want the public of New Zealand to decide this and I want this not to be about politics,” she said during the debate. Ardern’s opponent and National Party Leader Judith Collins has said that she and all of her caucus have committed to vote against the legalization of cannabis.

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