It comes despite dropping the nationally coordinated cannabis eradication operation.
"It's time we all grew up and realised, let's put this to the people - we elected them, they're called MPs."
"First thing I did when I got off the plane was to ask my doctor if I could get some!"
The Māori Council and the Drug Foundation say the law change has done nothing.
The wisdom of pushing a law change aside is questionable, political scientist Jack Vowles writes.
"Obviously a 'yes' vote would have had some impact on the industry."
Voters in areas where support was high were far more likely to back their local Labour candidate than National, data shows.
"I think there will be a majority out there for some change."
The newly counted votes aren't enough to nudge the 'yes' vote over the 50 percent threshold.
"If she really wanted it to be legalised - she should have been brave enough to put her hand up."
Māori are six times more likely to get a custodial sentence for cannabis than non-Māori.
Only 53 percent of New Zealanders voted against legalising recreational cannabis.
The yes campaign should be more gracious in defeat writes Mark Longley
Ardern's secrecy was at odds with the Greens' outspoken advocacy to legalise cannabis.
"We've pretty much got one in every two people saying it should be legalised."
But one of the most prominent pro-legalisation voices says decriminalisation won't fix many of the problems.
The staunch advocate for legalising cannabis has sarcastically congratulated her opponents on their apparent victory.
When Uruguay legalised cannabis, polls showed only about a third of people were in favour.
Preliminary results show 53.1 percent of people have voted 'no'.
The Project host Kanoa Lloyd disagreed, and said her decision was 'pure politics'.
"Any politician who wants to talk about those kinds of things needs to say those things when it matters."
The Prime Minister has been under pressure to reveal her stance on the controversial topic.
There are more than 400,000 votes still to be counted.
It means weed is likely to remain illegal, unless special votes turn it in the 'yes' camp's favour.
Here's the latest.
The Green Party securing the Auckland seat was unprecedented - so another upset could be on the cards.
The results came in at 2am on Friday.
"At the moment it's there [in our communities], and it's out of control."
Canada, Uruguay and 11 US states have legalised it in recent years. So how well has it actually worked?
"A 'no' vote is a vote to continue cannabis' existence in the criminal black market."