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Recreational cannabis referendum narrowly fails in preliminary results

Preliminary results indicate the recreational cannabis referendum has failed, with a result of  53.1% against and 46.1% in support. 

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The proposed law wasn’t able to get the backing the euthanasia referendum had. Source: 1 NEWS

This means if the final vote is reflected in the official results, recreational cannabis would remain illegal - however, official results are set to come out on November 6, which would include special votes that are estimated to make up 17 per cent of the overall vote.

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The results could impact the final referendum results.

The preliminary result means recreational cannabis would remain illegal. 

If the official results change the result, recreational cannabis 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. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little said if the official result shows New Zealand is still not in favour of legalising recreational cannabis, the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill "will not be introduced as legislation by the Labour Government this term".

"Subject to the release of the final results on 6 November, the incoming government will respect the result of both referendums. This will mean that recreational cannabis use will remain illegal in New Zealand."

Green Party spokesperson on Drug Law Reform Chlöe Swarbrick said "we need to wait for the specials to be sure of the result".

"We’ve had record numbers of special votes, so I remain optimistic. Many who have traditionally felt disenfranchised by the political system may have their voices heard at the specials. We’ll wait to see how that plays out next week."

National's Nick Smith said New Zealand would be "healthier, safer and more successful for rejecting the legalisation of recreational cannabis".

"This is a victory for common sense. 

"New Zealanders have rightly concluded that legalising recreational cannabis would normalise it, make it more available, increase its use and cause more harm."

Support for the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern revealed today she voted in favour in the recreational cannabis referendum. 

She promised before the election 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."