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New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational weed

Commission says uncounted ballots could still swing cannabis vote

The preliminary results of New Zealand's referendums suggest marijuana legalization will be rejected.   © Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- New Zealand has provisionally voted to legalise euthanasia but is on course to reject law changes that would allow recreational marijuana use, the country's Electoral Commission said on Friday.

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

Issuing preliminary results, the commission said there are nearly half a million mostly overseas-based special votes still to be counted.

These votes will not be enough to alter the vote on euthanasia but may be enough to swing the count on recreational marijuana, it said.

Full results will be published on Nov. 6, but with more than 65.2% of voters in favour of the recently passed legislation permitting euthanasia, assisted suicide will come into law in late 2021.

New Zealand's Electoral Commission said 53.1% of voters opposed the country becoming only the third to legalise the adult use and sale of cannabis, following Canada and Uruguay.

In 2017, Ardern supported the cannabis referendum plan in order to secure enough support to form a coalition government.

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