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62 per cent vote yes for cannabis law reform

Thursday 11 August 2022 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in BREAKING NEWS, National

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62 per cent vote yes for cannabis law reform
Photo: Getty Images

Over 60 per cent of the voters said “yes” to the cannabis referendum during the 2022 general election on August 1.

Voters were asked to vote on a referendum asking “Should we review our cannabis laws to allow for research and medicinal use?”

The final results released Thursday morning revealed 62 per cent voted “yes”, 35 per cent voted “no” and the remaining 3 per cent were “informal”.

Under the country’s present law – in particular sections 6 and 7 of the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004 – dealing in controlled drugs is a criminal offence. Cannabis is classified as a controlled drug.

In June, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minster said the question to voters “is deliberately broad”, adding they hope the referendum would allow room for wider debate on medicinal cannabis.

“The referendum is non-binding but it does allow the government an opportunity to gauge the public opinion on whether the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is acceptable to the public,” said the statement.

In lead up to the election, Cook Islands News polled 120 people in Rarotonga and the Pa Enua about several election issues. One of the questions asked: Do you support the use of medicinal cannabis? Of those polled, 49.2 per cent said “yes”, 37.5 per cent said “no”, and the rest were unsure.

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