Cannabis referendum: Could I smoke weed at work? And other FAQs

Credit: Original article can be found here

STUFF

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill proposes to legalise cannabis for personal use.

The New Zealand cannabis referendum will be held in September. What are the proposed rules for legal recreational cannabis in New Zealand?

If I vote ‘yes’ in the referendum, will cannabis for personal use become law?

No. The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill outlines an extensive set of regulations for how a legalised cannabis market would work in New Zealand.

If New Zealanders vote “yes”, Parliament would still need to vote to pass the bill before it becomes law.

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The draft bill would go through a normal process of three readings in Parliament, and select committee hearing, which would allow public input.

That would allow changes to be made to the bill, and some details would be ironed out, including the date at which the law would come into effect.

Who can consume cannabis under the proposed bill?

If passed, the law would allow people over the age of 20 to buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent in cannabis-infused products, edibles and concentrates) per day, but only from licensed outlets.

Where could cannabis be bought?

Retailers would need a special licence from the Cannabis Regulatory Authority to sell cannabis.

The proposed bill would not allow cannabis to be sold online.

A cannabis retailer would have to apply for a separate consumption licence if they also wanted to sell food.

The market would start with the phased introduction of cannabis, starting with fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis plants and seeds.

STUFF

In September, New Zealand will become the first country to vote on legalising recreational cannabis.

Cannabis could be sold and consumed at licensed establishments, including restaurants, by people over the age of 20, without certain previous convictions. Staff would have to be 20 or older.

Under the proposed bill, the authority could also set minimum and maximum trading hours for consumption and retail premises.

Similar to the rules for alcohol sales, there would need to be a duty manager in charge of enforcing the law.

Cannabis would not be sold on any licensed premises to an “impaired or intoxicated” person. A breach could result in a fine or a week’s suspension.

The drug would also not be sold with alcohol or tobacco.

Under the proposed bill cannabis, could be bought from licensed retailers over the counter, but not online.

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

Under the proposed bill cannabis, could be bought from licensed retailers over the counter, but not online.

Would there be dedicated cannabis cafes and restaurants?

The bill opens the potential for cannabis “coffee shops”. These could include BYO cafes and combined retail and consumption premises that would be required to provide conventional food and drink.

They would not be able to sell alcohol or tobacco, but smoking or vaping cannabis indoors would be allowed.

The referendum website states that the primary objective for “consumption premises” is to provide lawful places to consume cannabis outside the home.

They would have to provide information on how to consume cannabis and safely monitor customers.

People would be able to grow up to two plants, with a maximum of four plants per household.

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People would be able to grow up to two plants, with a maximum of four plants per household.

Could I consume/grow cannabis on a rental property?

That’s not yet clear. Growing cannabis in public places would not be permitted, but it could be grown in households out of public view.

People would be allowed to grow up to two plants, with a maximum of four plants per household and share up to 14g of dried cannabis with another person aged 20 or over.

Sheryl Marriott from the Property Investors Association said details around rentals would be ironed out if the referendum were to pass.

She said the rules in the proposed bill were ambiguous and the association’s members had not raised concerns about the cannabis plants on rental properties yet.

“I guess we’d have to treat it like any other potted plant. While I haven’t given it much thought, I’d say my only concern was the harmful effects of it on children inhaling the smoke or breathing in the oils on the walls,” Marriott said.

In the US state of Colorado, which has a similar population to New Zealand and legalised recreational cannabis in 2012, landlords have the ability to prohibit or regulate the possession, consumption and growth of cannabis on their property.

The state also has dedicated cannabis-friendly rental websites.

Would I be able to smoke weed at work?

Under the smoke-free Environments Act, all indoor workplaces must be smokefree.

While workers can pop out for a cigarette break, the proposed bill does not give details on smoking cannabis at the workplace or a timeframe before and/or after work when the drug could be consumed.

However, the bill does say more broadly, that cannabis couldn’t be consumed in public spaces.

Under the proposed bill cannabis cannot be consumed in public spaces.

Robert Charles/Stuff

Under the proposed bill cannabis cannot be consumed in public spaces.

Would workplace drug testing be allowed?

Alcohol and drug abuse can affect work performance and productivity, and also result in injuries, fatalities and absenteeism, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says.

Although the proposed bill does not set out details on managing drug impairment in workplaces, it says that the Ministry of Justice would work with MBIE to develop a new regulatory regime to address these risks.

The Government would also look at current rules related to workplace alcohol and drug testing as a starting point.

Under current employment law, an employer can only ask workers to take a drug test if it was a condition of their appointment and in the employment agreement or workplace policy.

What are the rules on workplace drug testing overseas?

Canada legalised cannabis in 2018, but a report by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety released last year showed it was still dealing with the complexities of workplace drug testing as it allows this on a case-by-case basis, to not infringe on workers’ human and privacy rights.

The US state of California legalised medicinal cannabis in 1996 and recreational cannabis in 2016. Californian law allows employers to undertake selective drug tests and prohibit the use of marijuana by current and prospective employees.

However, the US state of Colorado does not have a specific rules governing workplace drug testing.

In December 2019, the Government announced it was rolling out roadside drug testing by 2021.

Warwick Smith/Stuff

In December 2019, the Government announced it was rolling out roadside drug testing by 2021.

Would drivers be tested for drug driving?

As with drug testing in the workplace, the proposed bill says the Ministry of Justice would work with the Ministry of Transport to develop regulations addressing the risks with drugged driving.

In December 2019, the Government announced it was rolling out roadside drug testing by 2021.

The threshold for “impairing levels” of drugs will be aligned with levels for alcohol.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said a blood test that identified impairing medication or drugs at or above an amount equivalent to the criminal drink-driving limit (80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood) will result in a criminal offence.

Police will use an oral fluid test to test for drugs. Police will test for THC (cannabis), methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and benzodiazepines.

Drivers who test positive will be fined and stopped from driving for a minimum of 12 hours.

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