Campaigners in New Zealand have launched a legal bid to have the result of October’s cannabis referendum overturned.
The referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill saw 50.7 per cent vote against it, with 48.4 per cent in favour.
A group of more than 350 people, including drug reform advocate Blair Anderson, is asking the High Court to void the vote alleging misinformation caused confusion among voters.
Anderson told New Zealand news outlet, Checkpoint: “We saw ads in the mainstream newspapers of things like dopey dairies, which people will remember had cannabis leaves all over it, with kids on skateboards in front of it.
“There was no such provision within the actual legalisation and control bill to do that. In fact, it was specifically excluded.
“There were the things like ‘gummy bears, the menu for kids’ and various others that were publicised in mainstream media and social media and so forth.”
Anderson said that under the current laws, a judge has the power to void the referendum within six months, although he acknowledged that was unlikely to happen.
“It’s not the result of the referendum we’re disputing. We’re disputing the conduct of that referendum and I make that very clear,” Anderson told Checkpoint.
“It’s quite possible that the High Court judge may look at this and go, ‘nope, the Electoral Commission can get a smack over the head for being naughty but the results stand’.
“That’s the prerogative of the judge, he will hear the evidence, what’s really cute is he can call in the people that were responsible for some of the misinformation and ask them to validate and justify it.”
The Electoral Commission has has until Friday to respond to the High Court.