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Major public support for medicinal cannabis

11 July 2006

Major public support for medicinal cannabis law change

The result of a 3News TNS poll showing that 63 percent of New Zealanders would support a law change allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis as a painkiller is being welcomed by Green Party Alcohol and Drugs Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

Mrs Turei's Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which would would allow registered medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis to patients with specific serious medical conditions was recently pulled from the Ballot and will soon be debated in Parliament.

"It is very gratifying to see that the public are so supportive of a law change like this," Mrs Turei says.

"Debate about sensible drug law reform is often obscured by emotive language and perceived stereotypes. It is great to see that in the case of medicinal cannabis, the New Zealand public have seen to the heart of the issue and are supporting a law change.

"It just goes to show that community opinion does not always conform to what the media might assume. I would strongly encourage supporters of this law change to make sure their opinions are heard and taken into account - write letters to newspapers, contact your local MP, and think about making a submission if the Bill reaches Select Committee stage," Mrs Turei says.

Conditions identified in the Bill which could be grounds for a prescription of medicinal cannabis include Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy.

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

ENDS

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