We’d rather have people live and die in pain, apparently

Our government can be heartless at times, and I’m not talking about cold state houses or not throwing more welfare at bludgers.

I mean simple law changes that would make people suffering live much more comfortable lives.

Recently the family of a Nelson boy suffering severe seizures won a dispensation from the Government to treat him with cannabis oil, opening the whole discussion about the medical use of cannabis in this country.

But there are plenty of people who believe in the efficacy of cannabis as medicine and who aren’t prepared to wait for the law to catch up.

Cancer sufferer Gareth Jones is one of those people. Given three months to live last October, he’s survived eight months so far on self-medication with cannabis, and he wants a law change in New Zealand.

Mr Jones is breaking the law, processing cannabis – a fairly large quantity of the illegal plant – and making it into oil.

“Anyone can make it,” he says.

Mr Jones is not a drug dealer; he’s dying. He has advanced bowel cancer that’s spread to his liver, and all up he’s battling four large tumours. He says cannabis is his last resort.

Two years ago Mr Jones and his wife, Tash, discovered the cruel medical reason behind his chronic exhaustion.   Read more »

Imagine the outcry if these incidents happened at a Charter School?

The Labour party and teacher unions always bang on about teacher registration being vitally important for the safety of children. It is the major reason they oppose charter schools.

If a single teacher at a charter school has problems they are immediately calling for the cancellation of the programme.

But when, almost daily, ratbag teachers are hauled before the disciplinary tribunal or the courts there is total and utter silence.

Even drug dealing ratbag teachers and principals.

A Northland school teacher has been censured and deregistered after he was convicted for cultivating, possessing and supplying cannabis.

Mario Cachia, 49, was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention for possessing cannabis for the purpose of sale, selling cannabis and cultivating cannabis.

He had pleaded guilty when he appeared in Whangarei District Court in November.

The New Zealand Teachers’ Disciplinary Tribunal has now deregistered him after Cachia agreed his convictions were serious and warranted an adverse finding. Cachia is among seven teachers in Northland who were convicted of offences such as drugs and dishonesty in 2014.

Read more »

Herald Editorial lashes Peter Dunne

Ok, sure it is the Herald, but their points are valid as they call out Peter Dunne over his medical marijuana stance.

Understandably enough, the Renton family have been doing all they can to get the best possible treatment for their teenage son, Alex, who is in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital.

After more than 20 standard medications failed to cure his ongoing seizures, they set their sights on a cannabis-derived medication, Elixinol. Protests staged by the family and their supporters to try to get the Government to approve its use gained widespread media coverage. Finally, this week, they got their wish.   Read more »

Canada legalises Medical Marijuana

Canada’s Supreme Court has legalised medical marijuana in all forms.

Medical marijuana patients will now be able to consume marijuana — and not just smoke it — as well as use other extracts and derivatives, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today.

The unanimous ruling against the federal government expands the definition of medical marijuana beyond the “dried” form.

The country’s highest court found the current restriction to dried marijuana violates the right to liberty and security “in a manner that is arbitrary and hence is not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Restricting medical access to marijuana to a dried form has now been declared “null and void” — Sections 4 and 5 of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, which prohibits possession and trafficking of non-dried forms of cannabis, will no longer be in effect.

The respondent in this case, Owen Smith, called it “a very emotional day.”   Read more »

$30 million for cannabis research at University of Sydney

It is ironic that in New Zealand we need ministerial approval for the application of existing medical cannabis to desperate families of suffering patients.

Meanwhile in Australia a massive grant of $30 million has been given to Sydney University to push Australia forward as a world leader in cannabis research for medical treatments.

Sydney University scientists will be given more than $30 million to research the medical applications of cannabis, the largest research donation in the university’s history.

The $33.7 million donation, from Barry and Joy Lambert, is among the largest research donations to any university in Australian history.

The Lambert Initiative will bring together three of the university’s leading researchers who argue cannabis is the next frontier for medical discovery and a potential treatment for obesity, schizophrenia and drug addiction.

“This is something that is going to reverberate around the world,” Premier Mike Baird said. “We are now leading this country and, in many respects, the world”.

Mr Lambert – a BRW rich-lister who made his fortune in financial planning – said the family was inspired to make the donation after his granddaughter Katelyn found relief from epileptic seizures through cannabis-based medicine.

“When you get to the end of the road you try desperate measures,” his wife Joy said. “I never imagined she would be able to go to preschool”.   Read more »

Cannabis derived medication Elixinol – does it work?

People hear “marijuana” and start going into the usual spin.   So some facts would be nice

Assoc Prof Michelle Glass, Head – Department of Pharmacology, University of Auckland, comments:

“The reports that we have seen in the media today strongly imply that the government has approved cannabis for the treatment of Alex Renton, it is important that people recognise that this is not the case. What has been approved is oil made from industrial hemp, which is not marijuana, it is not a drug that will make the user experience any of the “high” generally associated with cannabis based products. Instead, these are plants with a very high fibre content and a negligible THC content (less than 0.2%). THC is the component of cannabis that generates a high.

“The use of high cannabidiol (CBD) strains of cannabis or hemp have recently garnered a lot of public attention, particularly in pediatric seizure disorders such as Dravets syndrome, where there have been some dramatic results in individual patients (see the media coverage around Charlottes Web). The strength of these individual results was such that the FDA awarded a pharmaceutical preparation of CBD – Epidiolex (from GW pharmaceuticals) orphan drug status, helping to drive the progress of clinical testing. Read more »


Guest Post – Medicinal Marijuana and why the current system is cruel


It is always interesting how one’s perspective changes when you have real life experience of something.  And while I wouldn’t wish the experience of pain and suffering of someone close to you, or indeed of yourself, on you it does help to understand the issues at a deeper level.

I am an older person well past retirement age but still trying to work full time in a job requiring all my accumulated knowledge combined with new learning.  And for the younger ones who would like my job and think I should retire, you are welcome to try for it – it is a competitive market.  People are buying my experience.

Unfortunately over the last couple of years I have developed several major health issues that require a variety of medications to keep death at bay.  And pain and nausea are a result of the mix.  Believe me, one doesn’t feel on top of one’s game if you are feeling sick all the time.  Read more »


Dunne caves under public pressure, and a good thing too

Peter Dunne has caved under public pressure to relent and allow the comatose teen to be administered medicinal marijuana.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has approved a one-off use of marijuana extract for a Wellington teenager in an induced coma.

The family of Alex Renton want his doctor to be able to administer cannabinoid (CBS) oil because regular treatment hasn’t worked, but they needed the Government’s permission.

Mr Renton has been hospitalised since early April with a condition that causes him to suffer repeat seizures.

Over 40 treatments have failed to help him and his mother says the family should be allowed to try an alternative option.

This afternoon Mr Dunne announced he was approving the treatment for the teen on “compassionate grounds”.

“Despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of CBD in patients with Mr Renton’s condition status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton’s individual case,” he said.

Read more »

Cannabis going mainstream, front cover of National Geographic


If you ever needed confirmation that what I have been saying about cannabis reform is true then one of the most conservative magazines out there, National Geographic has featured cannabis on their front cover and the feature article explores in depth the changing nature of the legality of cannabis.

There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.

In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.

Then came Reefer Madness. Marijuana, the Assassin of Youth. The Killer Weed. The Gateway Drug. For nearly 70 years the plant went into hiding, and medical research largely stopped. In 1970 the federal government made it even harder to study marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug—a dangerous substance with no valid medical purpose and a high potential for abuse, in the same category as heroin. In America most people expanding knowledge about cannabis were by definition criminals.   Read more »

Dunne shameless in the face of hard facts

The minister behind the disappearance of synthetic cannabis from Kiwi shop shelves says he’s not surprised by new research showing the ban halved the number of users seeking medical treatment.

But Peter Dunne, who drove 2013’s Psychoactive Substances Act through Parliament, is concerned the study’s findings may be clouded by smokers lying about their cannabis use, claiming to be under the influence of synthetic products that were then legal, like Kronic.

The Psychoactive Substances Act dramatically reduced the number of ‘legal highs’ on shop shelves by requiring manufacturers to prove their product was safe to use before they could sell it. It also cut the number of outlets able to sell the products, from thousands to about 100.

In 2014, a Bill passed under urgency banned the remaining products the 2013 Act failed to catch.

But despite its limitations, the 2013 Act had a huge impact on mental health – at least in Dunedin, where the study was carried out. Read more »