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Mouthspray delay means arrest excuse doesn't wash

4 May 2004

Mouthspray delay means arrest excuse doesn't wash

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today renewed his call for 'medical marijuana' arrests to be stopped following delays in the commercial release of a medicine based on a cannabis extract.

British company GW Pharmaceuticals announced late last week that the launch of their Sativex mouth spray had been further delayed by the UK's regulatory process. New Zealand's Ministry of Health has previously said that legal dispensation for people such as AIDS patients to use cannabis was not necessary because Sativex, which is an anti-spasmodic and anti-emetic also used as a painkiller, would eventually be available.

"People suffering right now need pain relief, not some time in the future, if they're lucky," said Nandor, the Green Party spokesperson on Drug Law Reform.

"It is outrageous that terminally ill people have to deal with the black market and risk being arrested just to access an effective painkiller.

"The Minister has used the possibility of Sativex as a excuse to put off helping these people in real need. She needs to accept that methods of application other than smoking, such as tinctures and vaporisers, already exist and there's no need to wait for a pharmaceutical company to release a mouth spray.

"Even then, the risks of smoking are somewhat relative if you are already dying. The increasingly vigorous euthanasia debate is happening in a situation where an effective form of relief is being denied to those suffering serious pain. One would hope that if cannabis was made available on prescription fewer people would need to even contemplate ending their lives early.

ENDS

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