Dalziel: Debate on Medicinal Cannabis
I am sending this because I have seen the late news coverage and it did not represent the views of those of us that agree with the issue, but could not vote for the particular Bill because it couldn't be amended - it would need to be re-written.
Notes I spoke in the debate:
Despite agreeing with the underlying intention of the Bill, (I believe there should be medicinal cannabis available on prescription, which it is (Sativex)currently in New Zealand on application by a GP and endorsed by a specialist), I believe that the spirit of what the promoter of the Bill has said is not reflected in the Bill itself. The reasons I cannot support this particular Bill are as follows:
There is a Law Commission review of the Misuse of Drugs Act underway at present. I accept that is not a reason of itself not to proceed. If the Bill was in a different form I would support it. However the Bill will force people who agree with the underlying principle to make extensive submissions because it needs to be entirely re-written - this is simply not fair on those who are represented on both sides of the wider drug debate, who will be putting their efforts into the Law Commission review. I do not recall receiving a single letter in opposition to prescribed medicinal use to alleviate pain. This suggests that there will be almost no opposition (if any) to the underlying principle and submissions will be about the particular way of implementing it.
The problems I see with the Bill are:
The introduction of a complex regulatory framework - with a Medicinal Cannabis Registration Board being established to issue Medicinal Canabis Identification Cards and Designated Agent Identification Cards -
A Designated Agent is required to prove him or herself to be of good moral character. I totally object to that phrase being inserted in NZ law.
The requirement on the police to supply cannabis seeds to card holders or their designated agents - seeds which they can only supply from stock seized during law enforcement activities.
The inclusion in the schedule of conditions that are specifically contra-indicated for cannabis use - as you know mental illness is a potential exclusion criterion for the use of cannabis medicines (Table 2 Sativex Application form)where it states "increasing evidence suggests that excessive or chronic use of cannabis is linked to psychosis & that it may exacerbate the symptoms of schizophrenia or precipitate this condition."
I personally would support a Bill that provided for a doctor's prescription to allow access to medicinal cannabis for the conditions listed in the inclusion criteria - (Table 1 - Sativex form) - which refers to things like nausea and wasting associated to cancer & AIDs, & chronic and neuropathic pain, associated with a range of conditions.