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Saturday 10 October 2009

Proclamations of the Red Queen

2nd July 2009

New Zealand: Parliament Defeats Medicinal Cannabis Derivative Bill

Posted by: Craig Young

Unfortunately, our Parliament has turned down a law change that would allow cannabis and its derivatives to be used for specific medicinal purposes, including as pain relief and digestive aid in the context of HIV/AIDS.

budshomer.jpgThe medicinal cannabis reform bill was tabled in 2002 and has taken seven years ago to come back before Parliament.

 The Green Cross Society supports medicinal cannabis derivative law reform, and believes that  cannabis is a useful palliative option. They are disappointed with the defeat of Green co-leader Metiria Turei’s  private members bill.

In a 3News item, Green Cross campaigner Billy McKee commented that other medication had unpalatable and excessive side-effects, compared to medicinal cannabis derivatives.

Medicinal cannabis is already used in thirteen US states.  Canada, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands also permit use of medicinal cannabis and its derivatives.

Metiria Turei’s bill  would have allowed doctors in New Zealand to prescribe cannabis for 22 approved illnesses and eligible patients would have been given an identification card allowing them to grow, possess and consume marijuana. “We’re trying to get the MPs to support it through to the select committee, so that people who are using medical cannabis and are supported by their doctors can no longer get arrested and placed in jail,” said Billy McKee, before the vote was taken.Some professional drug policy organisations also support reform:

“The main problem is it’s cannabis,” said Ross Bell, Director of the Drug Foundation. “Any time that this country tries to talk about cannabis in a sensible way, we fail. The politics, the hysteria come to play and people think that medicinal cannabis might be a back-door way to legalisation.”

“On the medical point of view, the science is clear - it has medical benefits for a set range of illnesses,” said Mr Bell.

ACT Deputy Leader Heather Roy backed the move as a qualified pharmacist, and said that there was a strong evidence-based case for permitting the use of medicinal cannabis derivatives as a palliative option:

“There’s very good scientific evidence to show that some medical conditions are improved by the use of cannabis,”

However, other MPs didn’t agree and said the bill was too flawed. They fear that it could lead to increased accessibility to cannabis solely for recreational use:

“Making the leaf available is simply a back door way of making it more widely available to everyone so no, no support,” United Future leader Peter Dunne said, opposing reform.

 However, this won’t be the end of the issue. New Zealand’s  Law Commission is currently holding a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. When the results come back later this month, Terei says she will read the report and redraft her private members bill accordingly.


“Medical cannabis bill voted down” 3News: 01.07.09:…/Default.aspx?…

Postscript: According to the Green Party’s Frogblog, these are the thirty votes for the Turei bill:

Those who voted for the bill, according to my info:
Jacinta Adern ; Carol Beaumont ; John Boscowen ; Sue Bradford ; Brendon Burns ; Steve Chadwick ; Charles Chauval ; David Cunliffe ; Catherine Delahunty ; Ruth Dyson ; Darien Fenton ; Jeanette Fitzsimons ; David Garrett ; Kennedy Graham ; Kevin Hague; Hone Harawira; Rodney Hide; Chris Hipkins; Pete Hodgson; Sue Kedgeley; Annette King; Iain Lees Galloway; Keith Locke; Moana Mackey; Sue Moroney; Russell Norman; Lynne Pillay; Rajan Prasad; Grant Robertson; Heather Roy; Carmel Sepuloni; Maryann Street; Metiria Turei M; Phil Twyford (apologies for any mistakes)

Four out of six of our LGBT MPs voted for the bill.

So: 9 Greens, 1 Maori Party, 4 ACT and 20 Labour

Tags: Politics

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