Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has admitted previously smoking cannabis in a fiery leaders debate with Judith Collins, her rival for the New Zealand prime ministership.

Cannabis is currently illegal in New Zealand, but the country will vote on a long-awaited Cannabis Referendum next month. The country already allows the use of medical marijuana, with a doctor’s prescription.

Ardern, 40, is widely seen winning a second term in office on the back of her success in containing COVID-19 but her rival, conservative National Party leader Judith Collins, has been clawing back support.

New Zealanders are also voting on two other issues – on legalising recreational cannabis and euthanasia – topics that have split opinions in the country.

In the second election debate on Wednesday, when asked by the moderator if she has ever used cannabis, Ardern said: “Yes I did, a long time ago.”

But she said she will only reveal which way she voted on the cannabis referendum after the election.

“I made a clear decision that I want the public of New Zealand to decide this and I want this not to be about politics,” she said.

(With inputs from Reuters)


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