AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election today: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia.
A “yes” vote on both referendums would arguably make the nation of 5 million people one of the more liberal countries in the world. Polls indicate the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass while the result of the marijuana measure remains uncertain.
The two referendums are being held at the same time as people cast votes for lawmakers and political parties.
Popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears likely to win a second term in office, with her liberal Labor Party polling far ahead of the conservative National Party led by Judith Collins.
The euthanasia measure, which would also allow assisted suicide, would apply to people who have terminal illnesses, are likely to die within six months, and are enduring “unbearable” suffering.