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Nandor celebrates release of Neville Yates

Wednesday 13 January 2005

Nandor celebrates release of Neville Yates

Green MP Nandor Tanczos is celebrating the release from prison today of Neville Yates, the wheelchair-bound Christchurch man imprisoned in November for growing marijuana to ease chronic pain.

"It's great to see Neville out because prison is particularly hard for people with disabilities like his, and it was so unjust that he was sent there in the first place," Green Drug Law Reform Spokesperson Nandor said.

Mr Yates received a five-month prison sentence for cultivating cannabis to alleviate the chronic pain he suffers from an amputated leg and brain damage caused by an accident when he was a teenager.

"It's just obscene that a man like Neville Yates was sentenced to a term in prison simply for trying to look after his health," Nandor said.

"There is ample evidence available that cannabis is an effective medicine for several conditions, which is why a number of overseas jurisdictions - including Canada, Holland, and a number of states in the USA - allow medical use of cannabis.

"People trying to defend cannabis prohibition like to say that no-one gets locked in jail for personal use. Neville's case puts a lie to that. There was no question that the cannabis he was growing was for personal use, to alleviate chronic pain, yet he was still given five months.

"Neville's treatment is particularly ridiculous at a time when our prisons are overcrowded, our courts are overworked, and our police are under-resourced.

"Allowing medical use of cannabis wouldn't even require a change in the law. The Health Minister has the discretion already to allow such use."


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