I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who is a smoker. She said that New Zealand’s tobacco laws are currently more restrictive than the proposed cannabis laws and that the penalties these days for being caught with illegal tobacco are worst than being caught with cannabis.

So what exactly are our current laws around tobacco in New Zealand? Are we allowed to grow our own tobacco in our back yard? According to a Stuff article from 2014 it is legal to grow tobacco in your backyard BUT it is illegal to sell or give away homegrown tobacco. It is legal to buy the seeds, grow the plants and smoke the product yourself.

In other words, you are allowed to grow vegetables and sell them or give them away to your friends and family but you are only allowed to grow tobacco for your own use. The proposed cannabis legislation, however, says that you’ll be able to grow two to four plants in your back yard for your personal use. You’ll also be able to sell cannabis commercially but you’ll need a licence to do so. You will be able to grow cannabis commercially but again you’ll need a licence and you can’t be both a grower and a seller/retailer.

In New Zealand, there is an almost 100% ban on tobacco advertising and promotion of all tobacco products at points of sale. The proposed cannabis legislation says that a retailer of cannabis may display their trade name as long it does not include either or both of the following.

  1. Any word or expression that signifies that cannabis products are for sale.
  2. The trademark of a cannabis product or the company name of a cannabis product manufacturer/grower.

I don’t know about you but I can already see a glaring loophole in this proposed law, as only words are banned. Images will be able to be used that will very soon be associated with a Cannabis retailer. A large mural of this guy would do the trick.


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