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Boxer's plight highlights need for debate

6 September 2006

Boxer's plight highlights need for debate

The case of former Commonwealth boxer Daniel Lee Morris, who yesterday admitted using cannabis to relieve pain, highlights the need for Parliament to investigate how best to bring New Zealand into line with other countries that allow access to medicinal marijuana, the Green Party says.

"Mr Morris, who suffers pain from numerous broken bones from his boxing career, now also has to endure a second conviction for cultivation of cannabis and is at risk of imprisonment," Associate Health Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"Medicinal users are, because of the need to relieve their conditions, more likely to be repeat users. Once they become known to police they are more likely to be arrested again, making it almost inevitable that they will one day find themselves in prison.

This has proved true for Mr Morris, who was yesterday warned that he faces imprisonment if he is convicted for a third time.

"This situation is unacceptable and proves the need for Parliament to be able to properly debate my Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which goes to its first reading in November,

"This Bill would allow registered medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis to patients with specific serious medical conditions, meaning that people in genuine need of cannabis to help with medical conditions will not have to face being labelled criminals or find themselves in prison," Mrs Turei says.

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


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