I'm also not in favour of deciding these laws through referendums. There's still far too much ignorance and fear out there - as a result of 1/2 century of anti-cannabis propaganda.
I'm in favour of *binding* referenda, as per Switzerland. There is then an incentive for people to actually find out the facts and become politically aware.
It would cost very little (certainly not $26M) to add questions to the 3-yearly ballot.
Too much risk of "mob rule" IMO.
Then there's also an assumed finality, but circumstances change. Ie the NZ flag referendum, "we've had it" so don't need to revisit the discussion for a long time, but circumstances out of our (NZ) control could easily change, the Queen could die and republicanism grow rapidly under king Charles, Scotland could leave the UK, Australia could become a republic. So we should stick to our flag - because we already had a referendum.
With cannabis (and narcotic law reform in general) opposition is founded on FUD. When that FUD is based on the concept that it's (law reform) going to put children at risk, then logic flies out the window.
It truly is FUD. One could write equal amounts of FUD to 'prove' that car travel puts children at risk...