TODAY |

Cabinet will write cannabis referendum question, Jacinda Ardern tells Parliament

The question for the cannabis referendum will be decided by Cabinet, the Prime Minister said today.

However she could not give further details of the approximate time of when the next steps would be taken towards the upcoming cannabis referendum. 

National's Paula Bennett asked Jacinda Ardern in Question Time today how legalised marijuana for recreational use would be regulated. New Zealand is set to hold a referendum at the 2020 election on legalising marijuana. 

"The Government is finalising decisions around how the question will be posed and what information will be provided in order to encourage debate," Ms Ardern said. 

She said she knew Ms Bennett "has a special interest in this area", and she encouraged her to join Green's Chlöe Swarbrick "and other members of the cross-party group to support the work that's being done".

"This is not a Government policy; it is a public referendum."

Ms Bennett asked if the Prime Minister thought a cross-party group of backbench MPs should be in charge of choosing the question in the referendum. 

Ms Ardern said the question would instead be chosen by Cabinet. 

The Prime Minister was asked when Cabinet would receive a paper on proposed regulations around cannabis, and if a bill would be introduced so Parliament could debate possible regulation. Ms Bennett also wanted to know what month these steps would be taken. 

"I won't put those confines around Cabinet's decision making, but I can tell you that work is under way," Ms Ardern said. 

"All of those decisions we are wanting to ensure happen in good time so that the New Zealand public have enough time to consider their individual positions."