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New Zealand votes to legalize euthanasia but not to legalize marijuana



WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealanders voted to legalize euthanasia in a binding referendum, but preliminary results released on Friday suggest they likely won’t match legalize recreational use of marijuana.

With about 83% of the votes counted, New Zealanders really approved the welfare measure with 65% voting in favor and 34% against.

The “No” vote on cannabis was much closer, with 53% voting against legalizing drugs for recreational use and 46% voting in favor. That leaves a small chance that the measure could still be passed after all special votes are counted next week, although it will require a major change.

The two referendums represent potentially significant changes to New Zealand̵

7;s social structure, although campaigns for each end were somewhat overshadowed by a coronavirus pandemic and a race. parallel politics, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Liberal Labor Party won a second term in a landslide.

In past elections, special votes – including those of external voters – tended to have more free scrutiny than general elections, leaving supporters in line. Marijuana legalization hopes this measure can still be passed.

Proponents of legalization of the drug have been disappointed that Ardern will not reveal how she intends to vote ahead of the October 17th vote. advocates for this measure, but she says she wants to leave the decision behind for the people of New Zealand. Ardern said Friday after the results were announced that she voted in favor of both referendums.

Conservative lawmaker Nick Smith, from the opposition National Party, welcomed preliminary results on cannabis.

“This is a victory for common sense. Research shows that marijuana causes mental health problems, decreases motivation and academic achievement, and increases the number of deaths on the road and at work, ”he said. “New Zealanders have rightly concluded that legalizing recreational cannabis will normalize it, make it more popular, increase its usage and cause more harm.”

But liberal lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick, from the Green Party, said they had long thought the vote would end and that they needed to wait until special votes were counted.

“We said from the outset that this will always happen with voters. We had a record special number of votes, so I’m still optimistic, ”she said. “New Zealand has had a really mature and ever-evolving conversation about drug law in this country and we’ve come a long way in the past three years.”

Proponents argue that the measure will reduce gang profits and improve social and legal outcomes for indigenous Maori.

The euthanasia measure, which will also allow suicide assistance and come into effect in November 2021, will apply to adults with terminal illness, likely to die within six months and are suffering from pain. “unbearable” suffering. Other countries that allow certain forms of cadaver include the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia.

“It is a victory for all of New Zealand as we become a more humane and humane society,” said liberal ACT lawmaker David Seymour. “Thousands of New Zealanders who may have endured painful deaths will have the right of choice, dignity, control and autonomy over their own bodies, protected by the rule of law.”

But Dr. John Kleinsman, an ethicist of New Zealand Catholic bishops, said the vote put vulnerable people on a dangerous path. The only option, he said, would be a natural burden and pressure on many sick people and their families, as well as on medical and religious staff.

The cannabis remedy will allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounces) per day and plant two plants. It is a non-binding vote, so if the voters approve it, the law will have to be passed to execute it. Ardern has promised to respect the results and come up with a law, if necessary.

Other countries that have legalized or disabled recreational marijuana include Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, Georgia plus several states of the United States.


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