Dopeheads not welcome in Marijuana debate

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

 

Nichola Smith is a nurse from the ‘Naki who loves animals and looks for everyday blessings.

Kat Le Brun, by her own admission, is a “grumpy” Christian student teacher from Nelson, and Jacinta, a tiger mother with a quickfire voice.

What do they have in common? Pain. Not bang-your-thumb-with-a-hammer pain, but the sort of pain that lasts as long as you do.

Chronic pain. The sort of pain that you have to accommodate.

Like a bad marriage choice in a country without divorce. It’s there last thing at night and when you wake up in the morning.

They don’t much like it. They don’t believe it should be used recreationally.

They don’t want it universally legalised. God forbid.

If they had the choice they would never smoke it themselves. No way. What would they say at prayer meetings or the PTA. They could be the most unlikely bunch of cannabis campaigners ever.

Yet, Kat, Jacinta, and Nichola are the very people for whom this intractable debate matters the most. They have skin in the game.

Skin which feels as if it’s been “pierced with a thousand hot needles” assailed with “burning knives”, “freezing ice buckets”, “electric shocks” and “glass shards”.

Expressions of incredible pain which they’ve found marijuana helps to alleviate.

Last weekend, the pro-marijuana lobby decided to spark up outside police stations around the country.

Unfortunately it was spring. It rained a lot, especially in Auckland and Hamilton. Not many people turned up.

Soggy joints were passed round, pipes smoked, vaporisers fumed. Foul weather stripped the pro-cannabis massive to its core.

Kat, Jacinta and Nichola weren’t there, despite the fact that legalised medical marijuana was top of the protesters’ manifesto.

There is a growing feeling among some patients that the likes of Norml and the Cannabis Party are hijacking their cause. Using the medical arguments to serve a bigger goal of making marijuana legal for everyone.

“They’re getting in the way and holding back progress for those who need it for medical reasons,” says Kat. She seethes with a not-in-my-name resentment.

“That’s what the Government is looking at, these stoners, the bad side of it. I just wish they’d be quiet.”

Quiet is something Kat and her fellow chronic pain sufferers are not going to be. Not anymore.

“It does upset me,” says Jacinta.

“I believe we have to focus on the medical at this stage. It might be selfish but it’s all getting muddled up. We need to look at one issue. This is too much for the politicians to deal with.”

When you are in constant and debilitating pain, the artificial barrier of legality becomes irrelevant.

But National by and large have dug in.

Don’t expect any change in this area, medicinal or otherwise, while the National Old Guard are still calling the tune.

 

– Phil Vine, NZ Herald


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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.  And 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.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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