Brandon Veevers, head grower at Rua Bioscience in New Zealand, inspects crops. (Photo courtesy of Rua Bioscience)

(This story has been up to date with business response.)

Preliminary results show a slim majority of voters in New Zealand rejected the nation’s referendum on a proposed invoice to legalize and regulate gross sales of adult-use cannabis, the nation’s Electoral Commission introduced Friday.

However, the official final result is not going to be identified till “special” ballots are tallied, which can happen subsequent week.

Those ballots – forged by abroad voters, the navy, prisons and hospitals – add as much as an estimated 480,000 votes.

Wellington-based Business and Economic Research (BERL Economics) beforehand estimated a regulated adult-use cannabis market may generate roughly 1.5 billion New Zealand {dollars} ($1 billion) in retail gross sales.

Provisionally, roughly 1.11 million voters supported the referendum to legalize leisure marijuana in New Zealand.

About 1.28 million have been opposed.

Since Friday’s result’s provisional, it’s doable subsequent week’s results may decide the ultimate final result.

But Manu Caddie, regulation and innovation lead for Rua Bioscience within the Tairawhiti area, mentioned it’s unlikely the particular ballots shall be sufficient to flip the vote for the “yes” aspect.

“To overturn the preliminary result will require the special votes to be at least 70% in favor, which seems unlikely but not impossible,” he advised Marijuana Business Daily.

Local enterprise leaders expressed disappointment with the referendum’s final result however lauded the enterprise alternatives in New Zealand’s burgeoning medical market.

“The medical cannabis opportunity remains our focus as a business now and represents a huge opportunity for New Zealand, in both economic terms and in terms of increasing patient access to valuable Cannabis medication,” mentioned Mike Breeze, managing director of licensed producer Pure Isolation within the Otago area.

“The conversations leading up to the referendum have improved awareness of the current availability and shown the overwhelmingly positive support for medicinal cannabis here in New Zealand,” Zoe Reece, founder and CEO of Waikato-based cannabis agency Ora Pharm, advised MJBizDaily by way of e mail.

The Electoral Commission had mentioned it will depend the referendum ballots after the Oct. 17 vote to deal with parliamentary elections held the identical day.

The Labour Party, which gained a commanding majority on Oct. 17, had promised to introduce the Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill into Parliament if a majority of voters supported the referendum.

That proposed invoice was launched by the federal government earlier this yr to present voters a transparent image of what they have been voting for, or towards.

Business leaders had known as that laws “world-leading” for provisions that will reserve market share for micro-cultivators, prioritize indigenous-run enterprise and permit for consumption lounges.

Only two nations have legalized adult-use cannabis at a nationwide degree to date – Canada and Uruguay.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s worldwide editor, primarily based close to Toronto. He will be reached at [email protected].

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