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New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

Cars drive past a billboard urging voters to vote "No" against euthanasia in Christchurch, New Zealand on Oct 16, 2020. (Photo: AP/Mark Baker, File)

WELLINGTON: New Zealand has provisionally voted to legalise euthanasia but is on course to reject law changes that would allow recreational marijuana use, the country's Electoral Commission said on Friday (Oct 30).

New Zealand voted on the two referendums this month while casting ballots during a general election that returned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to power.

Issuing preliminary results, the commission said there are nearly half a million mostly overseas-based special votes still to be counted. These votes will not be enough to alter the vote on euthanasia but may be enough to swing the count on recreational marijuana, it said.

A cyclist rides past a sign in support of making marijuana legal in Christchurch, New Zealand on Oct 15, 2020. (Photo: AP/Mark Baker, File)

Full results will be published on Nov 6, but with more than 65.2 per cent of voters in favour of the recently passed legislation permitting euthanasia, assisted suicide will come into law in late 2021.

New Zealand's Electoral Commission said 53.1 per cent of voters opposed the country becoming only the third to legalise the adult use and sale of cannabis, following Canada and Uruguay.

In 2017, Ardern supported the cannabis referendum plan in order to secure enough support to form a coalition government. 

Source: Reuters/zl

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