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Amputee’s arrest poor use of police time

11 July 2011

Amputee’s arrest poor use of police time

The Green Party is advocating for the Government to adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation that police shouldn’t prosecute people for using cannabis medicinally, after a North Island amputee was arrested on the weekend.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said several countries, including the United States and Canada, allowed cannabis to be used for therapeutic purposes but there was still a blanket ban in New Zealand.

“This isn’t a recreational drug issue; it’s about people not being hounded by police for using one of the world’s oldest medicines in the same way they do in other developed countries,” said Mrs Turei.

The Law Commission’s Controlling and Regulating Drugs Report recommended: “While trials are being conducted, we think that it would be appropriate for the police to adopt a policy of not prosecuting in cases where they are satisfied that cannabis use is directed towards pain relief or managing the symptoms of chronic or debilitating illness.”

Mrs Turei said police targeting New Zealanders for medicinal use of cannabis was a waste of resources.

"The continual harassment by police of ill people is a disgrace It is inhumane to subject amputees and cancer victims to this irrational law.

“We need to act swiftly on the Law Commission’s recommendations for drug law reform so that ill New Zealanders are treated with dignity and respect.”

Greencross coordinator Billy McKee, an amputee who uses a wheelchair, was arrested during the weekend just days after he had done a radio interview commenting on the home detention sentence handed to fellow medicinal cannabis user Peter Davy.

Cannabis can be used for medicinal purposes in Israel, Finland, Canada and 15 states in the United States. In Argentina, consumption for medical purposes is accepted but not legislated.

Cannabis was also decriminalised in many countries and states for personal use, including in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

ENDS

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