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Preliminary referendum results are out - what happens next?

The preliminary results for the referendums are out - with the End of Life Choice Act referendum passing with a significant margin of 65.2 per cent in support and 33.8 per cent against.

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1 NEWS online’s political reporter Anna Whyte explains what the proposed law means and what both sides of the issue are saying. Source: 1 NEWS

However, the vote on recreational cannabis narrowly failed with 53.1 per cent against and 46.1 per cent in favour.   

The official results are due to come out on November 6, which would include special votes that are estimated to make up 17 per cent of the overall vote. The results could impact the final referendum results. 

End of Life Choice Act - 

It is a binding referendum, so the law comes into force a year after the official results of the referendum are declared - November 6, 2021. 

It would mean people who meet a certain set of criteria would be able to request an assisted death.

Assisted dying means the medication could be administered by a medical or nurse practitioner, or self-administrated. 

They would have to be a New Zealander aged over 18, suffering from a terminal illness that’s likely to end their life within six months, be in an advanced state of irreversible physical decline, be experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a manner the person considers tolerable and also be competent to make an informed decision.

Reasons that can’t be used to request assisted dying include - being of advanced age, suffering from a mental disorder, or a mental illness or having a disability of any kind.

The cannabis referendum:

Based on the preliminary results, recreational cannabis would remain illegal. 

However, the result could be impacted by the result of next week's special votes. 

Should it change the result and recreational cannabis is passed, it would not automatically become legal.

The next Government would introduce a proposed law to Parliament and from there, the public can share their thoughts and ideas on legalising cannabis. It would then need the support of Parliament to pass. 

Currently, the draft bill sets out that only people aged 20 and older could access cannabis.

It would also control the production and supply of cannabis with rules for restricting access, growing and consumption, licensing requirements, taxes, levies and fees. For example, an individual could own two cannabis plants (to a maximum of four per household) and process up to 14 grams of cannabis a day.

Licensed premises would be allowed to sell cannabis, but it could only be consumed on site or in a private residence. Consumption in public places would be prohibited, and online or remote sales of cannabis would not be allowed. 

Holding a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 general election was in the Green and Labour coalition and supply agreement when forming the 2017 Government.

Jacinda Ardern promised before the election that if she were re-elected, she would follow through with the results of the referendum.

The day before election day, she would still not reveal the way she voted, but said whatever the outcome, it was important "young people do not end up damaging themselves as a result of access, because that is what I saw as a young person".

"Second, I don't want to see people unnecessarily criminalised. Whatever outcome, that’s what I think we should be looking to achieve."