MPs to vote on medicinal cannabis bills

By January 30, 2018 Recent News

Radio NZ News 30 January 2018
MPs will vote this afternoon on the government’s plan to make medicinal cannabis more widely available.

But some advocates are worried lawmakers will view the legislation as a “compromise position” rather than voting for the Green Party’s more radical bill.

There are two related bills – proposed laws or law changes – in circulation.

The government’s bill lays the groundwork for a regulated medicinal cannabis industry and effectively allows terminally ill people to use illicit marijuana in the last year of their life. It will be considered by MPs today.

Senior advocate group Grey Power is in the odd position of disagreeing with aspects of both bills, but still hoping they pass.

Grey Power president Tom O’Connor said the government’s bill was too restrictive and had too many hoops to jump through.

But he said the Greens’ effort went too far.

“It would be just tempting fate far too much to allow people to grow cannabis at home for their own medication amongst the tomatoes and spuds.

“They’d never harvest it for a start. People would be over the back fence to steal it anyway.”

Regardless, Mr O’Connor hoped both bills would pass so they could go before a select committee and be debated.

“These things need to be discussed in the public and we’d like to see that discussion be as wide-ranging as possible.”

Bob McCoskrie, of Christian lobby group Family First NZ, said the government’s more “cautious and researched” legislation should go before a select committee.

But he said Ms Swarbrick’s bill should be “chucked in the bin”.

“There is no redeemable factor in it. It’s a grow-your-own-dope bill.”
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