Campaigner wants more than ‘tinkering’ with medicinal cannabis law – Others disagree

By December 20, 2017 Recent News

Radio NZ News 20 December 2017
A campaigner for medicinal cannabis wants a medical necessity defence introduced and a change in attitudes by doctors and the police.

The government will today unveil a law change to allow easier access to medicinal cannabis.

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ coordinator Shane Le Brun said a medical necessity defence should be added to the Crimes Act or guidelines changed, to avoid prosecutions.

“The police really come down hard on cultivation, even for medical purposes … we don’t have to change the law and tell the police to stop prosecuting – but it could be a viable defence in court.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said broadening access to cannabis for medicinal use was a smoke-screen for the long-term aim of legalising recreational marijuana.

Mr McCoskrie said in every other jurisdiction medicinal marijuana had led to decriminalisation and then to legalisation of cannabis use.

He said the Greens’ bill allowing people to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes was “just a grow-your-own-dope bill”.

It would be a mistake if legislation opened the door to people being allowed to smoke cannabis, he said.

“No other realm of medicine considers smoking therapeutic.

“We don’t smoke opium to get the benefits of morphine.

“The New Zealand Medical Association just last month said it is difficult to justify a place for smoked cannabis as a medicine.”

Medicinal cannabis in other forms needed controls on its quality, composition and how it was prescribed.

“Why not take a cautious approach?”

He expected the government legislation to be a more moderate version as New Zealand First had to agree on it.
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