New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia but not marijuana

New Zealanders voted to legalise euthanasia in a binding referendum, but preliminary results released on Friday showed they likely would not legalise recreational marijuana use.

With around 83% of votes counted, New Zealanders emphatically endorsed the euthanasia measure, with 65% voting in favour and 34% voting against.

The “No” vote on marijuana was much closer, with 53% voting against legalising the drug for recreational use and 46% voting in favour. That left open a slight chance the measure could still pass once all special votes were counted next week, although it would require a huge swing.

Cars in Christchurch pass a billboard urging voters to vote against euthanasia (Mark Baker/AP)

The two referendums represented significant potential changes to New Zealand’s social fabric, although the campaigns for each ended up becoming overshadowed somewhat by the coronavirus pandemic and a parallel political race, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her liberal Labour…

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