Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Cross-party support needed on medicinal cannabis

Cross-party support needed on medicinal cannabis

With three bills before Parliament this year, medicinal cannabis advocates are calling for cross-party support for sensible solutions.

Changes to the Government's medicinal cannabis bill don't go far enough, while the National Party's proposed new bill could mean only expensive pharmaceutical-style products are available. The Green Party's bill was defeated earlier this year.

“Parliament should work together and put the needs of patients first," said Rebecca Reider, who has suffered from debilitating chronic pain and serves as a patient representative on NORML's board.

"While politicians squabble, patients are suffering and even dying.”

The Government bill creates an exemption for terminally ill people to obtain and use cannabis, removes cannabidiol (CBD) from the Misuse of Drugs Act, and allows new standards for cultivating, manufacturing and distributing medicinal cannabis products.

Amendments to the bill announced today include:
• Allowing licences for commercial production, first proposed by NORML and PharmaCann
• Permitting limited promotion of cannabis-based medicines, such as providing information to health practitioners
• Removing CBD and all non-psychoactive cannabinoids from the Misuse of Drugs Act, potentially lowering costs for patients and increasing the range of available products
• Repealing the defence for terminal patients after 5 years
Although the report says 99 percent of submitters supported the intent of the bill, it was also widely criticised for doing too little, and for taking too long.

Submissions were overwhelmingly in favour of allowing medicinal cannabis use for chronic pain and other conditions, allowing patients or caregivers to grow their own, and for products to be more affordable and widely available.

The National bill, also announced today, would create a different medicinal cannabis scheme:
• Doctor-issued Patient ID cards would be used at pharmacies to obtain cannabis-based medicines
• Medical cannabis products would be restricted to "liquids and pills"and regulated like pharmaceuticals by Medsafe
• Products would be given a five-year window to perform clinical trials and other tests needed to gain consent as medicines
• No provision for compassionate access, or any exemptions for terminal patients
• Prohibits advertising, anyone with a criminal record from working in the industry, and producers from being within 5km of a residential area or 1km of sensitive sites such as schools and wahi tapu
National's new-found support for medicinal cannabis mirrors the surging support shown in recent opinion polls.

The latest poll, released this week by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, found 87 per cent support for allowing medicinal cannabis for chronic pain relief. The poll confirmed a significant upward trend for public support of cannabis law reform.

“The National Party's bill marks an incredible shift from just a year ago, and shows the strong public support for law reform is getting through," said Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for NORML.

"Regardless of how commendable their bill is, a private member's bill may never be drawn, whereas the Government bill will pass.”

There are merits to National's proposed scheme, but regulating medicinal cannabis like pharmaceuticals could keep products unaffordable – forcing patients to continue turning to the black market.

"National's proposals could allow local producers to overtake Australia, but their restrictions could also hobble our budding industry before it's even begun," said Mr Fowlie, who is also CEO of PharmaCann New Zealand Ltd and presented to the health select committee.

"As well as pharmaceutical products, we need cheaper, food-grade cannabis products to be available here, as they are in other countries," said Phil Saxby, of Wellington, a former Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Board.

“Parliament now has an opportunity to improve the Bill, and it's great to see National apparently calling for the same thing.”

NORML says both bills have good aspects, and urges MPs to work together to do what is best for patients.

--ENDS--

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s, when complaints were commonly being levelled at RNZ’s Morning Report programme, largely by National MPs discomfited by being interviewed by Kim Hill.

The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

 
 

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Mishandling Of The Alleged Sexual Assault

The focus of Labour’s alleged sexual assault scandal has now shifted from the party organisation to the Beehive... This is now a crisis of Beehive management and response, not something occurring at a distance within the party organisation. More>>

ALSO:

'History Rectified': Rua Kēnana To Be Pardoned

An official pardon for Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana is one step closer after the Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill was read in Parliament for the first time today. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: Initial Mental Health And Wellbeing Commission Appointed

The Government has announced details of the initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission which will play a key role in driving better mental health in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

people outside the meeting house at WaitangiEducation: NZ History To Be Taught In All Schools

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own history and identity. With this in mind it makes sense for the National Curriculum to make clear the expectation that our history is part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school and kura,” Jacinda Ardern said. More>>

ALSO:

Sexual Assault Claims Mishandled: Labour Party President Resigns

Jacinda Ardern: “This morning I was provided some of the correspondence from complainants written to the party several months ago. It confirms that the allegations made were extremely serious, that the process caused complainants additional distress, and that ultimately, in my view, the party was never equipped to appropriately deal with the issue…" More>>

ALSO:

Budget Process: Wellbeing To Be Enshrined In Law

Legislation has been introduced in Parliament to ensure every Government considers the wellbeing of New Zealanders when creating future budgets. More>>

National In China: Bridges Praises CCP, Meets Law Enforcement Head

A recent trip to China has raised questions over who the Opposition leader Simon Bridges met with and why... Anne-Marie Brady, a Canterbury University professor and expert on Chinese politics, has described Guo Shengkun as the leader of the Chinese secret police. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The SIS/GCSB’s Compliance With Torture

Torture is a crime under international law. New Zealand has signed (a) the UN convention against torture and (b) formal agreements about how armed conflict should be conducted. That’s the legal backdrop to the fascinating report released this week by the SIS Inspector-General.

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels