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Medicinal cannabis may soon be a treatment option

15 June 2006

Medicinal cannabis may soon be a treatment option

Sufferers of some serious illnesses may soon have the option of being prescribed cannabis to help alleviate their symptoms, the Green Party says.

Associate Health Spokesperson Metiria Turei's Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Private Members' Bill was selected from the Parliamentary ballot today.

"I am really pleased that the public and Members of Parliament will now be able to properly investigate this issue," Mrs Turei says.

The Bill would allow registered medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis to those with specific serious medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, glaucoma and those suffering from nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy.

Those who are deemed suitable for medicinal cannabis would have to be registered and would be issued with an identity card.

"At present it is possible for the Health Minister to approve medicinal cannabis use for some patients, but the process is extremely onerous. This Bill will take that responsibility out of the hands of politicians and place it with those best qualified to make those decisions - doctors.

"Medicinal Cannabis products, including Sativex, are being used in the United Kingdom and a number of countries and enable treatment to be under control of doctors.

"In New Zealand, strict regulation of medicinal cannabis and supervision of use by a doctor will allow patients access to an effective medicine and prevent the unjust conviction of those for whom it provides relief from their illness.

Medicinal cannabis is available in the number of countries, including Canada, Germany and the Netherlands and in nine states in the USA.

ENDS

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