Medical cannabis

The government should replace tobacco tax with cannabis tax

The case is building for the legalisation of cannabis.

Of course, once things are legal you can tax them, and as NZ has a dwindling supply of readily addicted tobacco users to pay wads of tax they should look at the potential for revenue from a cannabis tax.

Is marijuana the new sin-tax gusher for the states? It sure looks that way.

In November, voters in five US states will decide on whether to allow recreational use of the drug, while citizens in four other states have the option of legalising medical marijuana.

Unlike the fierce battles of the past over decriminalisation, resistance by governors, law-enforcement groups and state medical associations is down (though not entirely gone). The ability to collect mountains of new taxes could be a reason, judging from the experience of Colorado, where voters approved medical marijuana in 2000 and legalised its recreational use in 2012.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, Colorado collected $157 million in marijuana taxes, licenses and fees, up 53 percent from a year earlier and almost four times what it has collected in alcohol excise taxes this year. Thanks to marijuana smokers, Colorado’s public schools will receive $42 million, and local governments will get $10 million of the amount collected. ? Read more »

Legalisation does NOT lead to an increase in young people smoking weed

The?Washington Post reports:

Rates of marijuana use among Colorado’s teenagers are?essentially unchanged in the years since the state’s voters legalized marijuana in 2012, new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.

In 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths?had used marijuana in the past 30 days. That rate is slightly lower than the national average and down slightly from the 25 percent who used marijuana in 2009, before legalization. The survey was based on a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado.

“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don?t use marijuana, even occasionally,”?the Colorado health department said in a news release.

Read more »

Peter Dunne refuses to consider medicinal cannabis reform

It is time. Peter Dunne has served his purpose, which we have all forgotten what it was, but he’s served it nonetheless.

Time the electoral bus ran him over.

There won’t be any major changes to the current process for approving the use of medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand, following consultation with medical experts.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne asked officials in March to look at whether the current guidelines for assessing applications to prescribe cannabis-based products, including the need for ministerial sign-off, were still fit for purpose.

“The feedback received was unanimously supportive that the guidelines and process are sound,” said Mr Dunne on Thursday.

“The consistent feedback from experts in their field was that cannabis-based products should be treated no differently to other medicines — evidence-based principles should and will continue to be followed.” ?? Read more »

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. ?? Read more »

Helen Kelly is the next to call out Peter Dunne?s bullshit

It is a red-letter day when Helen Kelly and I are on?the?same side.

Former CTU head Helen Kelly has labelled Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s speech on drug reform “dishonest”.

Her battle to access medicinal cannabis for her terminal lung cancer has unfolded publicly.

She’s currently taking cannabis products she sources illegally to relieve her pain.

Ms Kelly says the product she took last night made her violently ill, and she and other sufferers need a product that’s specialist-approved.

“I’m dying, and it’s considered not good enough for me because somehow it’s going to harm me, it’s ludicrous.” ?? Read more »

Medical marijuana: no longer if, but when

Someone is feeling a bit of pressure:

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Explaining is losing Peter.

Peter Dunne help provide a legal framework around synthetic cannabis, but seems?recalcitrant when it comes to natural cannabis.

There are renewed calls to push through the legalisation of medical cannabis in New Zealand after it was revealed Martin Crowe was self-medicating with liquid marijuana.

The detail around the cricket legend’s use of medicinal marijuana was revealed in a British newspaper.

Crowe fought lymphoma for four years, facing his battle against the illness with as much dignity and grace as he’d shown at the crease.

But since his death it’s been revealed he was forced to use illegal drugs to help manage his pain. ? Read more »

If this doesn’t make the government act, nothing will

The government has been caught napping on medicinal cannabis.

A legal expert reckons you can now head off to Australia, get a prescription and bring the magic weed back with you.

I’m not sure I want to be the first one to try it though.

A law change in Australia means New Zealanders can now legally be prescribed a month’s medicinal cannabis there and bring it back to this country, a legal commentator says.

A Golden Bay woman has escaped a lengthy jail term for importing cannabis products after a judge discharged her without conviction, because it was prescribed overseas.

Rebecca Reider – who has complex chronic pain syndrome – was facing charges for possession and importing of cannabis oil and other products after she was discovered posting chocolate bars with edible cannabis to herself.

Her lawyer, Sue Grey argued because Ms Reider was lawfully prescribed drugs while visiting overseas and the quantity was no more than one month’s supply to treat a medical condition, it should have been legal. ? Read more »

Florida will add medical marijuana referendum to U.S. election in November

Florida is the latest state to have a referendum on the legalisation of cannabis.

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow medical use of marijuana will be back on the ballot in November and organizers said Wednesday that growing public support and a larger voter turnout in a presidential election year should help pass the measure that narrowly failed in 2014.

The group organizing a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot now has 692,981 certified voter signatures, nearly 10,000 more than it needed to put the proposed amendment on the ballot.

“We feel very good that 60 percent plus of Florida voters will finally approve a true medical marijuana law,” said Ben Pollara, who is organizing the effort for United for Care.

The state requires that constitutional amendments receive at least 60 percent approval from voters. In 2014, 57.6 percent of voters supported a medical marijuana initiative. Pollara said at the time that supporters hoped lawmakers would recognize that most Floridians wanted to legalize medical marijuana and pass a bill to approve it.

Read more »

Medical marijuana approved for one case. If it can be approved for one, why not all?

There is good news and bad news on the medicinal cannabis front.

The good news is that one woman has approval from?Pharmac for funding?to use Sativex in an attempt to help her; the bad news is that no one else has.

A woman who may have otherwise died from her regular severe seizures has been granted approval for medical marijuana funding.

Alisha Butt, 20,?has the mentality of a toddler and is unable to speak.

Her seizures had presented a huge problem for specialists who were unable to adequately treat her, leading to the possibility she could end up in a coma from one and die.

But thanks to medicinal marijuana extract Sativex, Alisha is able to live a more comfortable life.

“Since being on Sativex for over 4 months, she has shown a great improvement,” mum Sushila Butt said. ? Read more »

Medical cannabis works

Medical cannabis helped ease the suffering of a terminally ill teenager but did nothing to treat his epilepsy, a medical report says.

The 10-page review is being cited by campaigners for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis as further proof as to why there should be a referendum on the issue at the next election.

The report discusses the treatment of Alex Renton, 19, who suffered from “status epilepticus”, a kind of prolonged seizure, and was the first person in New Zealand to receive medicinal cannabis in hospital.

His family campaigned to have medicinal cannabis used in his treatment after his seizure in April. His mother, Rose, secretly administered Elixinol, a cannabidiol (CBD) product from the United States called, to her son when no one was around.

In June, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne approved the one-off use of the treatment. Alex died on July 1.

The report, Cannabidiol oil in the treatment of super refractory status epilepticus is authored by Ian Rosemergy, Jonathan Adler and Alex Psirides and has been accepted for publication by a European journal. Read more »