Government asleep at the medical marijuana wheel

Has Labour finally managed to pick a winner?

Labour will legislate for medicinal cannabis “pretty quickly” after taking office, leader Andrew Little has confirmed.

Little said cannabis products should be available to anyone suffering chronic pain or a terminal condition if their GP signed off on it.

Labour MP Damien O’Connor has drafted a bill for Parliament that would shift the onus of decision making on medicinal cannabis away from the minister to GPs and medical professionals.

Currently individual applications must first get ministerial approval for medicinal cannabis. The first Kiwi to do so was teenager Alex Renton who died shortly after approval was given.   

In a wide ranging Facebook Live interview with Stuff on Wednesday, Little said Labour would pass O’Connor’s law “pretty quickly” after the next election, should it win.

But on the wider issue of decriminalising cannabis, he wanted to see more evidence.

“I don’t have a moral thing about recreational drugs…my own experience of dealing with it as an issue was when I was a union lawyer, when employers started to do drug and alcohol testing and I did a lot of work on that.

“The medical evidence that came back to me overwhelmingly was that a lot of the cannabis available in New Zealand had very high THC (mind altering substance tetrahydrocannabinol) levels. For brains that are still developing in their late teens and early 20s cannabis use even to a modest degree can still cause long term brain damage. So I’d want to know we are addressing that real risk to that issue.”

I can’t wait for John Key to steal this policy from Labour as well.

Little is taking the soft option, only talking about medicinal cannabis, instead of talking about legalisation in total.

Little talks about his experience as a union lawyer, which would have been to oppose drug testing, even in industries operating heavy machinery, which is strange when he says the evidence was clear about impairment.

Legalisation is going to happen, it is only a matter of time. Best National steal a march on this from Labour.

 

-Fairfax

 


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  • Monty’smate

    This is simply decriminilisation through the back door. Is it absolutely proven- and does the medical profession agree- that cannabis related products are better than other non-cannabis products in giving pain relief?

  • JohnO

    i saw on TV last night they are now working for “medical psilocybin” the active ingredient in majic mushrooms.

  • HK_EXPAT_IN_NEW_ZEALAND

    Pennsylvania recently made Autism and other conditions as qualifying conditions for Medical Cannabis, try living with Autism which has unstable mood changes, fear of the crowd, random meltdowns and there are videos on Youtube available of THC the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis stopping a severe autistic person who is having a meltdown and doing self harm

  • kayaker

    “Pretty quickly”. Sounds indecisive to me. Next week it will be “maybe”, then it will be “we’ll need to look into it” etc. It’s like Andy going in boots and all saying he would ban all foreign trusts.

    National has a much more pragmatic approach. They would never do (or not do) this until they’re completely sure. My bet is they’ve been weighing it up.

  • Bryan

    really now we know what they have been on and why so many strange statements coming out of labour they are in chronic pain as a party and need it

  • lyall

    according to Dunne, anyone who wants access to medicinal marijuana products only has to get their doctor to apply – and they have approved every case except one!
    ,although i personally do not believe Marijuana should be illegal – If this is the case as Dunne stated in an interview then i don’t know why those pushing for access to medical marijuana are acting so hard done by – they should be talking to their doctors and ministry of health to get what they want legally!

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