National says “maybe” to cannabis derived medicine, “definitely no” to decriminalisation

The Government is still refusing to budge on the recreational use of cannabis, but says it’s open to further discussion around its medicinal use.

The comment has once again re-lit debate around cannabis law reform the same day as “J-Day” protests across the country.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is giving an inch, but protesters at today’s J-Day in Auckland want a mile.

“Overall I want to make sure New Zealanders get access to the medications they want over time, but I don’t at this point support making marijuana available,” Mr Coleman said.

More than 1000 gathered in Albert Park for the annual protest — this year’s theme the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis.

Currently, non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis products can be accessed only with ministerial approval, but that’s rarely granted.

“If you’re dying in hospital, how are you going to be writing letters, and going and getting all these things together, and peer reviews and reports from consultants and things before you can get approval?” says cannabis supporter Chris Fowlie.

Teenager Alex Renton is one of only two people who has had approval to use medicinal cannabis. He died last year, but his mother’s petition lives on.

Campaigners say medical access is the first step, but they want more.

“We can’t just say, ‘Let’s have medical and not recreational.’ It’s not an either-or. We need reform on both of those,” says Mr Fowlie.

Mr Fowlie just wants to get off his face without running the risk of the popo getting in his way.

There really are a number of levels this can be looked at

  • Cannabis derived medicines
  • Doctor prescribed Cannabis for medical purposes
  • Decriminalisation
  • Legalisation

As far as National goes, they are barely considering dipping their toes into Cannabis based medicines, although as we saw yesterday, the Labour Party has prepared a private members bill.

Oddly enough, Marijuana reform may actually be the very first policy that may actually motivate some voters to come to Labour again.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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