Over 5,500 ActionStation members sign petition prior to Minister's announcement on Medicinal Cannabis
8th February 2017
In the two weeks leading up to Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s announcement loosening the rules around medicinal cannabis, over 5,500 signed an ActionStation petition calling for GPs to be able to prescribe the treatment.
“This announcement is a move in the right direction and shows that politicians will inevitably follow the lead of people who call for fairer and more evidence-based policies,” says ActionStation co-director, Marianne Elliott.
“The incremental change, announced by Dunne this morning, comes after decades of sustained campaigning from a variety of groups and individuals and a groundswell of public support.”
The announcement would still put a high barrier in place for people in severe pain and discomfort who want to access the drug, with the Ministry of Health still needing to sign off on applications from specialists.
“Accessing specialist care takes resources that many of the people in greatest need of relief from pain simply do not have. This change doesn’t go as far as what the 5,524 ActionStation members were calling for, which would have lowered the barrier to access to serve people who are struggling as well as those who are well-off. So we hope the Minister decides to go further and listen to the majority of New Zealanders who support legalisation of medicinal cannabis.”
A UMR poll in 2016 showed that 72 percent said they would support a medical marijuana regime.
“This campaign has been one of the highest growth petitions on the community campaign site OurActionStation, which shows the weight of public support behind the issue.”
“This announcement follows a pattern ActionStation members have become familiar with over the past few years. When public pressure for change reaches a certain level, the Government likes to appear to be doing something without doing a lot.”
“We’ve seen it on numerous issues including the minimal increase to the refugee quota, and a small increase in base benefits for families with children. In all these cases, the Government has made incremental moves to appease public concerns without addressing the root of the issue.”
“This year, with an election looming, we plan on releasing the collective power of hundreds of thousands of everyday New Zealanders to show that we want a fair and flourishing vision for our country that goes beyond incremental change” concludes Elliott.