The Prime Minister has announced that as part of this year’s General Elections a referendum will be conducted on the potential use of cannabis in the Cook Islands.
The Cabinet has agreed with the proposition put by Prime Minister Mark Brown, that the question to electors be:
“Should we review our cannabis laws to allow for research and medicinal use?”
Under our present law – in particular sections 6 and 7 of the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004 – dealing in controlled drugs is a criminal offence; and cannabis is classified as a controlled drug.
Medicinal cannabis has been a very topical issue in recent times both domestically and internationally. And to allow room for wider debate, the question being put to the voters is deliberately broad. The referendum is non-binding but it does allow the government an opportunity to gauge the public opinion on whether the the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is acceptable to the public.
Cabinet having endorsed the Prime Minister’s recommendations, the Chief Electoral Officer has been instructed to draw up the necessary documents to enable the referendum to take place.
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