Great Britain

New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia but not cannabis

With about 83 per cent of votes counted, New Zealanders emphatically endorsed the euthanasia measure with 65 per cent voting in favor and 34 per cent voting against.

The “no” vote on cannabis was much closer, with 53 per cent voting against legalising it and 46 per cent voting in favour. That left open a slight chance the measure could still pass once all special votes were counted next week, although it would require a huge swing.

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

In past elections, special votes — which include those cast by overseas voters — have tended to be more liberal than general votes, giving proponents of cannabis legalisation some hope the measure could still pass.

The euthanasia measure, which would also allow assisted suicide, would apply to people who have terminal illnesses, are likely to die within six months, and are enduring “unbearable” suffering. Other countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia.

The cannabis measure would allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounce) a day and grow two plants. Other countries that have legalised or decriminalised recreational marijuana include Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, Georgia plus a number of US states.

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