NZ Herald 6 December 2017
The new government sees local production of cannabis-based medicines as likely in the medium term – but “green fairies” currently distributing cannabis to patients shouldn’t expect any shelter from the law.
Jacinda Ardern’s government has promised that “medicinal cannabis will be made available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain” in its first 100 days and the Minister of Health, David Clark, and his officials have been working to determine exactly what that promise will mean.
Meanwhile, “green fairies” such as Nelson woman Rose Renton face serious charges for distributing their own products – sometimes to patients who have been referred by GPs and even specialists. The Weekend Herald understands the Government will not intervene there. But it may move to provide some legal shelter to patients, especially those with terminal illnesses – an area where there is said to be broad agreement between the three governing parties.
The Weekend Herald has been told by a senior ministry source that the initial announcement, subject to Cabinet sign-off and due in early February, will focus on improving access to pharmaceutical and near-pharmaceutical grade products, including Sativex and functionally equivalent products from the Canadian manufacturers Tilray, CanniMed and CannTrust. That will include whole-cannabis products for use in vapourisers if there is an assay to guarantee the contents.
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