N Z Med J. 2021 Jun 25;134(1537):84-90.
A referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill was held in New Zealand. The Bill was meant to oversee government control over the production, supply and use of cannabis and reduce cannabis-related harm. Public health control was proposed over cannabis market by imposing licenses and cultivation, the quality and strength of marketed cannabis, and sale restrictions. Under this Bill, cannabis was only meant to be available to adults aged over 20 years through licenced stores. The potency of cannabis was to be limited. Cannabis use and was going to be permitted in private homes and specifically licensed premises. The Electoral Commission announced on 6 November 2020 that 50.7% of voters opposed the Bill and 48.4% supported it. Despite the outcome of the referendum, legalisation of cannabis may remain a live issue for many people, and doctors need to have an informed view about the impact of legalisation on mental health conditions. Experience from other countries shows that access to and potency of cannabis increased with legalisation. Despite the intent to prevent harm, cannabis legislation has been associated with adverse effects on mental health, emergency hospital presentations and crime. Public health strategies, including educating public about harm associated with cannabis, surveillance of potency and labelling, increasing minimal age for legal recreational cannabis use and bolstering treatment capacity for problematic cannabis use, including those with psychiatric disorders, should be funded by revenue generated from cannabis legislation.
Source: ncbi 2