Like it or not here comes the first step in legalisation of cannabis

The first step towards legalisation of cannabis is before the parliament.

A debate on whether to legalise medicinal cannabis for terminally ill Kiwis is headed for Parliament after a Green Party MP’s bill was drawn from the ballot.

Julie Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill will make it legal for the terminally ill and those suffering a debilitating condition to use cannabis with the support of a doctor.

The bill was drawn on the same day as ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice bill, which would legalise euthanasia.  

Genter said “no Kiwi should have to live in pain because of an archaic, uncompassionate law”.

“We are finally going to have the conversation about medicinal cannabis that New Zealanders have been crying out for.”

Medicinal cannabis needed to be available by prescription from a doctor but also needed to be affordable, she said.

The drawing of the bill comes on the back of a loosening of rules around medicinal cannabis by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne last week.

The Government has removed restrictions meaning the Ministry of Health would no longer need to approve the use of cannabis product cannabidiol (CBD) for individual cases.

The change would come into effect in about two months, after Dunne had signed a new regulation.

CBD is a substance found in cannabis that had potential therapeutic value but little or no psychoactive properties.

Genter said the softening of the laws only went part of the way and didn’t guarantee “medicinal cannabis products will be affordable for the average New Zealander”.

“My Bill will ensure that sick people and those in pain will actually be able to afford the cannabis products they need.

“New Zealand can finally catch up to the much of the rest of the world on cannabis – now it’s up to my colleagues across the aisle in Parliament,” she said.

If we are going to catch up then we need to look at legalising cannabis totally, not just for medicinal purposes.

But let’s take tiny steps first.



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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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