New Zealanders will have the final say on two major social issues this year - euthanasia and recreational cannabis use.
The two referendums will take place at the same time as the general election on September 19.
On euthanasia, voters now hold the power. The legislation has already passed and when New Zealanders vote "yes" or "no" it will be binding.
The referendum to legalise personal use of cannabis, on the other hand, is not officially binding. But both the Coalition Government and the opposing National Party have said they will honour what the majority votes for.
Isaac Davison explains what will happen if New Zealanders vote "yes", what the arguments are on both sides, and how you can have your say.
(To read about the euthanasia referendum click here)
What does the The Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill do?
It would make it legal to use or grow cannabis for recreational purposes in New Zealand.
The production, supply and use of cannabis would be regulated by a new government-controlled authority.
Only people 20 years and older would be able to buy cannabis, and they would be able to buy up to 14 grams of dry leaves a day. That is also the maximum amount you are allowed to have in your pocket in public. It is enough to make up to 40 joints, and at black market prices would cost around $200.
You would not be able to light up a joint on the street, in a bar, or in your car. Smoking and consumption would be limited to your home or to specialised bars. "We don't expect a Amsterdam-style coffee shop culture," said Ross Bell, executive director of the NZ Drug Foundation. "Is it more likely to be a lounge room attached to a retail store."
The proposals for the cannabis industry are designed to keep it small, tightly regulated and out of sight.
You would be only be able to buy cannabis in licensed, physical stores. Online and remote sales would be banned, as would importing cannabis. There would be a total ban on marketing, advertising and promoting cannabis products, even inside of cannabis shops.
Cannabis potency would be restricted and clearly stated on a product's label - like the alcohol level on a beer bottle. Products would have to be sold in plain packaging and have health warnings - similar to cigarette packs. Edible cannabis products would also be available, but would be more strictly controlled.
The finer detail is yet to be worked out, but commercial supply would be capped at existing levels of demand, and reduced over time.
Companies would be limited to one part of the supply chain. For example, growers could not also be retailers. This is part of a plan to avoid a "Big Cannabis" takeover, as has been the case overseas. Tax on cannabis sales - which would be higher for more potent marijuana - would be channelled into harm reduction.
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Home-growing would also be allowed. You would be able to grow a maximum of two cannabis plants at your house or rental - or up to four if there was more than one 20-year-old living at the property. There would be fines for growing too much, and potential jail time if you grew more than 10 plants. You could make edibles at home, but not resin, which can be more potent.
The proposed law change is fundamentally different from decriminalisation, in which cannabis possession and use remains illegal but is not punished with criminal charges. Medical cannabis is already legal in New Zealand.
What are the arguments for it?
The punitive, criminal approach to drug law has failed, supporters say. It has cost millions in enforcement and led to over-criminalisation of young, poor and Māori, without reducing drug use or harm. The harm of prohibition, or the so-called "War on Drugs", had outweighed any cannabis-related harm.
As many as 590,000 New Zealanders - or 15 per cent - used cannabis in the last 12 months, and overall use is rising.
Supporters of legalisation generally agree that cannabis is associated with harm, especially when it is used excessively or too early in life. But the existing system means people get their cannabis from a black market which has no concern for their age, their wellbeing, the potency or quality of their product, or whether the buyer is addicted.
Legalising the drug would bring control to what is currently chaotic, reformers say. A state-regulated regime would create a cannabis market with a duty of care to its consumers.
"The primary objective of the legislation is to reduce overall cannabis use and limit the ability of young people to access cannabis," Justice Minister Andrew Little said.
Only a handful of people are locked up in New Zealand every year for offences relating to cannabis alone, and around 300 are locked up for charges which include cannabis offences. But advocates for change say cannabis' status as an illicit drug still prevents people from seeking help because they fear punishment.
In places that had legalised dope overseas, the sky had not fallen, advocates said. Cannabis consumption rates were generally steady, sometimes after an initial bump, and youth consumption rates fell in some places.
What are the arguments against it?
The main concern from opponents is that legalisation will make cannabis even more accepted and available in this country, and that could lead to an increase in consumption and cannabis-related harm.
The Royal Society of New Zealand reviewed the science on cannabis' risks and benefits last year, and found there were some negative outcomes from cannabis use (but also big gaps in data and research).
In particular, recreational cannabis was associated with mental illness, especially among youth, drug use disorders, respiratory illness, impaired cognition and increased road accidents.
"People may assume cannabis is largely safe as it has been used by people for so long, but this is not necessarily the case," said Professor Michelle Glass, Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Otago.
Opponents of legal cannabis say the North American experience showed it was not the utopia many believed it would be.
In the first US state to legalise, Colorado, more people were being admitted to hospital for cannabis-related problems, and there were more reports of mental health cases linked to marijuana. At the same time, youth consumption had fallen. It also fell in Canada after legalisation 18 months ago, while use had risen among adults in their 60s.
In California and Canada, legalisation had failed to stamp out the black market, partly because of high taxes and bureaucracy which had stifled legal businesses.
Some opponents are sceptical about the touted benefits of legalisation for Māori. Changing the legal status of one drug will do little to shift the entrenched biases in the justice and health systems, they say. In the US, racial divides, including disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for drug possession, have persisted after legalisation.
And despite a promise to keep the cannabis industry small and local, New Zealand had a poor record in caving to big alcohol, tobacco and gambling interests. "I have little confidence in our government being able to handle it," said Peter Adams, a public health researcher at the University of Auckland.
How does it compare to other countries?
New Zealand would be the fifth country to legalise cannabis, after Uruguay, Georgia, Canada and South Africa. Several US states have also legalised and the state of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legalised recreational cannabis in January.
Several countries have decriminalised personal cannabis use, including the Netherlands, where cannabis is illegal but tolerated in "coffee shops".
New Zealand's proposed law is generally stricter than other countries and states, with a higher minimum age and lower maximum daily limit and number of home-grown plants.
"It is not the free-for-all people think it is," said Bell. "I think a lot of people will be surprised by that."
The exception is ACT, which allows residents to possess and grow cannabis but not to purchase it.
How do I vote?
The cannabis referendum will be at the same time as the general election, which is on September 19. There will be two voting papers - one for your election vote and one for the referendum.
You will be asked: "Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?"
There will be two options:
• Yes, I support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
• No, I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
Advance voting begins on September 7, and overseas people can vote from September 2. You need to be enrolled to vote. To be eligible for enrolment, you must be 18 years or older, a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously at some point.
When would it come into force?
This is not set in stone. If a majority votes yes in the referendum, it will be in the hands of the next government to pass the legislation, and will depend on its priorities, and how long the implementation period is. If a majority votes no, nothing changes.
'THE STATUS QUO IS NOT WORKING'
Vanessa Caldwell has worked in addiction treatment in New Zealand for 25 years.
In that time, she has seen close family members and colleagues die from drug addiction.
Caldwell, from Palmerston North, is now convinced that it's time for a major change in her sector. She will be voting "yes" in the referendum to legalise recreational cannabis use in September.
"I'm well aware of the potential harms and the associated harms," she said.
"But I would ask people, 'Who benefits from the current system?' And I can tell you it is not the addiction treatments, not the police, and it is certainly not any drug users or their whānau."
"And if one in three young people are leaving high school having tried cannabis, I would say it's not protecting our young people either."
There has been some progress in recent years, she said. Police had increasingly used discretion to send young people to health services rather than court, especially since a law change last year which firmed up their ability to do so.
But addiction services were already overwhelmed, and the changes have not been matched by any lift in resources. The typical wait time for intensive treatment was around six months.
Caldwell said that as long as cannabis was illegal, people would not seek help themselves. They would only get help by going through the justice system first. Services would not be properly funded. Addiction services would remain mostly out ot sight because of the need to keep patient confidentiality. There would be no ability to provide public messaging about cannabis or early intervention services.
"I would love to be able to support principals and people on the frontline who are clearly seeing students in distress," Caldwell said.
"One way we can do that is by having a workable framework under the legislation, which allows us to actually leverage the resources appropriately.
"We have an opportunity with the referendum to clearly signal that the status quo is not working."
'THIS IS NOT THE MAGICAL CURE'
In his work as a minister, Reverend Hirini Kaa has witnessed the more sinister side of cannabis use.
"Seeing whānau members who can't go without cannabis every day for 40-50 years," he said.
"Seeing 15 year-olds who just want to use cannabis every day. It is insidious, it is damaging, and it is powerful in our communities", he said.
Dr Kaa, who is also a historian and kaiārahi (Māori and Pacific advisor at the University of Auckland, said he supported the increasingly health-based approach to illicit drug use in New Zealand and the shift away from punitive drug laws which disproportionately hurt Māori.
But he will vote "no" to legalising recreational cannabis use in this country, he said.
"This is not the magical cure people often portray it as. Because the underlying reasons for that treatment of Māori, that institutional bias in criminal justice, remains.
"With the justice system, with the health system - we need to fix those first. Otherwise we just get all the downsides and none of the positive fixes."
He cited the example of the United States, where legalisation in some states had not changed the fortunes of African-Americans or indigenous people. They were still far more likely to be arrested and convicted of drug possession offences, and had not been at the heart of the "Green Rush".
Dr Kaa said he believed he was in the minority In his iwi, most of whom backed reform. Cannabis had "found its way into our culture" through Bob Marley and reggae, he said. It played a role in its illegal economy. And if it were legalised, Māori stood to benefit from the economic opportunities it created in hard-up regions like the East Cape and the Far North.
But when it came to big social policy changes, New Zealand did not look back, he said.
"We don't question the impact. Look at the alcohol laws. Anyone look back and see the impact on Māori? No. We do this, clap ourselves on the back for being progressive, and then Māori will have to clean up the mess in our communities.
"I hope people who are going to treat this as some kind of great, progressive leap forward understand the impact that it's actually going to have in certain communities that New Zealand doesn't even want to hear from, and doesn't look back on."