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How to make medicinal cannabis laws based on the needs of ill and disabled people

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, June 12th, 2017 - 124 comments
Categories: greens, health - Tags: , ,

The purpose of this bill is to make it legal for New Zealanders who are suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition to use cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a registered medical practitioner.

Last week Julie-Anne Genter’s private member’s bill on medicinal cannabis was drawn from the ballot for consideration by parliament. The Greens have aimed the bill at making medicinal cannabis accessible to all eligible people, not just those with good cash flow or physical ability to grow a limited supply.

The bill is an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and would enable medically supported people to grow their own or have someone grow it for them as well as being able to buy regulated commercial product.

It looks well designed for people who are ill and need access and support rather than structural or financial hoops to jump through. This is a marked difference from other proposals which seek to hand cannabis to commerce for production and regulatory containment and to limit use with higher minimum pricing. All of which would make access harder for many. Needless to say, people who are terminally ill or have serious pain and disability need things to be easy.

The rules would be,

  • people that are terminally ill or have a debilitating illness
  • can use cannabis or cannabis product for therapeutic reasons
  • with the support of a registered medical practitioner
  • they can grow their own or nominate someone to grow for them
  • non-psychoactive cannabis will not be a controlled substance (including CBD)

The definition of which illnesses would be approved is sufficiently broad as to allow usage for a wide range of people in need, and would essentially be leaving the discretion to GPs. Again, this is well designed for people managing chronic health issues. Russell Brown points out that GPs would provide a doctor’s note not a prescription for cannabis, and that while many would be willing to do this, some GPs might be reluctant and see this as de facto prescribing of an untested drug.

The day of the bill’s drawing Brown wrote about the legislative process in the context of the already scheduled rewrite of the Misuse of Drugs Act (due to start later in the year). He suggests that this would not be a fast process and that drug policy would be an election issue this year.

The amendment Bill sits within the Green Party’s general Drug Law Reform Policy principles,

The Green Party recognises that:

  • Drug policy should be rational and based on credible and scientifically-valid evidence.
  • There can be adverse health, social and economic consequences from the use of drugs for both individuals and society.
  • Not all drug use is problematic.
  • Some individuals in society will choose to use drugs, regardless of their legal status.
  • Prohibition of drugs can cause more harm that it prevents.
  • Drug policy should have a primary focus on improving public health instead of trying to punish users.

Green Party Drug Law Reform Policy

124 comments on “How to make medicinal cannabis laws based on the needs of ill and disabled people ”

  1. Ad 1

    How will these products be regulated?
    Presumably by Medsafe?
    I’m guessing there’s specific effective components that need pretty close control over their levels.

    Also, is it proposed that purchase is made directly by Pharmac and available through registered pharmacies?

    • weka 1.1

      Depends what you mean by product. As far as I can tell the intention is to make it easier for small/medium businesses to manufacture, and I assume that would be regulated via the rest of the Act.

      Homegrown processing (or whole cannabis) wouldn’t be regulated. So someone with the skills to extract cannabis oil would be able to do so for own use, or nominate someone to do it for them. This is on par with people who home-brew alcohol, although obviously in this case it’s still being restricted to people with a medical exemption. In other words it’s not difficult nor is it dangerous (manufacture or use).

      • David C 1.1.1


        To have someone make oil for you? You see this as a simple thing?

        You are suggesting that the Govt allows private individuals to manufacture and presumably get paid for making a pharmaceutical?

        • weka

          Depends on what you mean by simple but there are already plenty of people making product from raw cannabis at home and using it themselves or sharing with people in need.

          The thing about allowing someone else to make it for you is so the legislation is written in a way that discriminates against people with disabilities e.g. someone who doesn’t have the physical ability to handle the equipment needed. That’s huge in terms of disability rights.

          I think technically it wouldn’t be a pharmaceutical because pharmaceuticals are defined by law. But other than that, I don’t think it’s really that different than being able to make alcohol at home. We do restrict people from selling home-brew, but this law also has restrictions on it. You need a valid medical condition, written support from a medical practitioner and the person you nominate for supply has to be named to that practitioner (there will be some issues there in terms of National’s push for big data and gutting privacy laws).

          • David C

            If its medicinal cannabis I cant see how its not going to come under the pharmaceutical umbrella of rules. Strength purity additives etc.
            Yes access to this for the disabled goes without saying but access is not the same as the right to manufacture or the right to have someone manufacture for you.
            We already have systems in place to dispense medicine at heavily subsidized cost, why would we move away from that? surely that just complicates the issue.
            I would have pharmac contract it out. NZ grown organic green.

            and sell it to the world by the boat load too.

            • weka

              At the moment I can make herbal medicines at home. I can brew beer or distill spirits. How is that any different?

              All those things need skill.

              We already have systems in place to dispense medicine at heavily subsidized cost, why would we move away from that? surely that just complicates the issue.

              Lots of people in NZ can’t afford their prescriptions. People on benefits have to do significant hoop jumping to get Disability Allowance, and that is capped, so if they’re already at the upper limit they can’t get anymore. This is not an uncomplicated situation currently. Decriminalising for personal use is far less complicated.

              “I would have pharmac contract it out. NZ grown organic green.”

              That can happen too. But once you commercialise it, you make access harder for some people. I also think that many of the experts in medicinal cannabis in NZ (growing and use) are not going to be employed by the state. And the state will want to make pharmaceuticals. I don’t think the state should be involved in growing weed or selling joints, there’s not need and I just don’t think they’d be that good at it.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I would have pharmac contract it out. NZ grown organic green.

              and sell it to the world by the boat load too.

              I wouldn’t have Pharmac contract it out but have them actually producing it. Removes the dead-weight loss of profit then.

              • David C

                You would have a bunch of shiny arsed cost accountants become farmers?
                Not a lot of green space in their 9th floor offices I suspect.

                Odd, but certainly not the oddest thing you have said.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You would have a bunch of shiny arsed cost accountants become farmers?

                  Nope. I’d probably have Landcorp growing the marijuana and passing it along to Pharmac for the research, development and production of the actual drugs. Probably look at buying some from private farmers as well.

                  Basically, I’d be extending Pharmac from just being a buyer to an government department that produces many of the drugs that we need.

                  Odd, but certainly not the oddest thing you have said.

                  What”s odd is that we continue to follow a delusional socio-economic system that is inherently unsustainable.

                  • Stunned Mullet

                    “Basically, I’d be extending Pharmac from just being a buyer to an government department that produces many of the drugs that we need.”

                    I doubt we could produce many of the medicines we use in NZ at the prices we currently get them for let alone factoring in the cost of the facilities that would be required to manufacture them.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We can. In real terms it costs no more to produce things in NZ than elsewhere and then when it is produced elsewhere it’s got the costs of transport added on as well.

                      The problem is our delusional financial system that makes it look cheaper to buy offshore.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      The set up costs to produce the many pharmaceuticals that are relied upon in NZ would be very large, similarly all of the active ingredients and intermediaries that are required for their production.

                      Also our relatively small population would mean producing pharmaceuticals for very small patient groups with rare disorders would likely be uneconomic.

                      There is a problem with delusion but I’m not sure it’s our financial system in this case.

                    • David C


                      Someone like Draco just refuses to acknowledge basics like cost of production.

                      NZ just isnt big enough to make some things worthwhile.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Right – but processing weed needn’t cost much at all – so we should not do it because other medicines are more expensive to manufacture? = rwnj spurious logic.

                      The ones we can manufacture economically we should.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      @SMunro – I have no problem with NZ growing and processing forms of Cannabis, I would’ve thought it would be the kind of thing we would be particularly good at.

                      Draco’s fantasies of NZ producing the bulk of it’s own various pharmaceutical needs are another matter completely.

                    • David C

                      Having a NZ based facility process a bulky plant based, NZ grown crop into a refined low volume high value pharmaceutical Vs NZ stamping pills after buying the immensely expensive patent controlled active ingredient from an overseas company?

                      No I dont see any difference. //

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It’s interesting to find how firmly the rwnj community reject the possibility of high tech low impact industries like pharmaceuticals – the kind of thing which our relatively educated population can do more readily than third world competitors.

                      For Pharmac to undertake this would be a natural direction for vertical integration – I guess we must assume Dave C and the Mullet have private concerns that conflict with this public interest proposal.

                      Full points for distracting from Ms Genter’s bill however.

                    • All this anguish over a “major new industry” – how much of this stuff do you think we’ll actually need and if we are that sick as a society, shouldn’t we be looking at the causes, rather than the easements? The bulk industry opportunity looking us in the face with regard cannabis is fibre and oil; easy to set up post-harvest production plants and the market is dry for a wetting. Different variety, yes, but let’s do both. Begone, silver fern!

                    • Perhaps, Stuart, if the production process involved turning the raw material into powder using giant coal-fired drying towers then shipping it off to China in BULK, as we do milk, the righties objecting here would be soothed of their concerns.

                    • Plus…lacto-pharmaceuticals – Rod Oram was promoting these years ago as a clever marketing option, but Fonterra was whistling Dixie at the time.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      @Smunro – 🙄

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Robert – As I have stated I have no issue with NZ growing and manufacturing cannabis based products it is something we would likely be very good at.

                      For some reason Draco and Stuart Munro seem to believe the only reason one could have serious doubts about NZs ability to manufacture the majority of our pharmaceutical requirements locally rather than source them from existing supply chains is that one must have a private conflict of interest.

                      IMO the only reason Stuart would think that would be his propensity to interfere with goats.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Someone like Draco just refuses to acknowledge basics like cost of production.


                      Now stop lying about me.

                      NZ just isnt big enough to make some things worthwhile.

                      That’s the problem – there are no economies of scale. A small factory is just as efficient as a large factory.

                      And that’s the delusion that economists and politicians keep coming up with and that’s based in calculations that are simply wrong. This is because the manufacturing process doesn’t use human input. All automated factories, no matter the size, have a near equal efficiency.

                      Large factories lose out on the increased transportation costs.

                      It’s not the population of China that makes them the engine of the world but the fact that they’re bothering to actually make stuff whereas the Western world seems to have decided that it’s simply too expensive to do so.

                    • David C

                      Robert Guyton

                      Wow you are really so stupid I hardly know where to begin.

                      Pouring milk into a drying tower and reducing its weight and bulk by 80% before shipping it to China? is that what you mean? or you would have us ship the couple of million tonnes of water extracted as well?

                      Oh wait, you complain when we export water too!

                    • David C
                      “Wow you are really so stupid I hardly know where to begin.”

                      I really rocked you there, David C, with my stupid’n’all!
                      “Hardly know where to begin”! That’s tough on you but I see you gave it a brave shot anyway, good for you! Yeah, exporting water eh! Stooopid!! Who’d do that???

                    • David C


                      and here I though RG was kinda special in his stupidity.

                      “That’s the problem – there are no economies of scale. A small factory is just as efficient as a large factory.”

                      So a manufacturing suite that is batching/stamping and packaging pills that can do enough in a morning to supply NZ for a year , has no down time between swapping drugs.

                      Who knew?

                      and yet this same small NZ based facility will produce pills at the same cost as a facility in India producing 200 times as much in a single run.

                      Who knew that either?!

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Let’s just leave your goats out of this Mullet.

                      Naturally one would expect that Pharmac would produce the ones that were cost effective, and leave the ones that weren’t to folk with different competitive advantages. RWNJ are supposed to understand basic stuff like this but I guess you’re a slow learner.

                      Yes Robert – I can see growing demand for what Bierce describes as ‘an article of clothing, often put on after speaking in the open air, which prevents the wearer catching cold’, and ‘an instrument of justice chiefly remarkable for those who escape it’. Quite a few good products NZ never touches – lacquer has great possibilities too.

                      It’s astonishing really that these erstwhile libertarians are so agin private victimless vice – were I to grow a little cannabis between my cabbages the only ones negatively affected would be the white butterflies (and no, that’s not a covert dig at Peter Dunne).

                    • Stuart – I’ve heard the expression, “stone the crows”, but “stone the cabbage whites” is a new one on me!

                    • stunned mullet

                      PHARMAC only supposedly fund pharmaceuticals that are cost effective Stuart – so are you suggesting they magically manufactural the medicines currently funded on the pharmaceutical schedule.

                      Why not admit that you don’t have the foggiest what you are dribbling about.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It’s astonishing how obtuse the RWNJ are these days – It seems our Mullet is self medicated as well as fundamentally backward.

                      “so are you suggesting they magically manufactural the medicines currently funded on the pharmaceutical schedule”

                      I am suggesting they manufacture those medicines which it is cost effective to manufacture – they might do this by a tender process.

                      All these difficulties you are imagining are no doubt the reason NZ produces property speculators and asset thieves rather than entrepreneurs. Productive activity like manufacturing calls for skills and judgment RWNJ do not possess, nor do they wish to acquire it. A properly graduated tax system would soon persuade them to lift their game.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      @ Robert

                              McPartland, John M. 1997. Cannabis as repellent and pesticide. Journal of the International Hemp Association 4(2): 87-92 Cannabis has been used as a pest repellent and pesticide in a variety of formulations. It has been planted as a companion crop to deter insects, nematodes, fungi, and weedy plants. Dried leaves and flowers have repelled or killed insects, mites, nematodes, and weeds. Plant extracts (either aqueous or polar organic solvent extracts) have killed or repelled insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, weedy plants, bacteria, and protozoans. Pure cannabinoids reportedly inhibit or kill bacteria, fungi, and insects. The validity of some of these reports is debated. Most of the scientific literature describes in vitro experiments, few studies concern field work. Utilizing left-over Cannabis leaves against pests appears to be a possible use for this harvest residue.

                    • stunned mullet

                      “I am suggesting they manufacture those medicines which it is cost effective to manufacture – they might do this by a tender process.”

                      You dopey prick – you really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

                      Too much goat worrying has finally driven you over the edge.

                    • Stuart – I’m more a pro-biotic sort of guy and favour plants for their beneficial qualities. For example, hemlock, famous for its anti-hominid properties, creates beautiful, fine soil wherever it grows and should be left to do just that, imo 🙂 Thanks anyway, for the info.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “Too much goat worrying has finally driven you over the edge.”

                      I think you should probably find another forum for your goat fantasies, Mullet. I’m beginning to suspect your uses of the phrase ‘nanny state’ were Freudian slips.

                      “You dopey prick – you really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

                      That would be unnecessary abuse.

                      So, we’ve established that you
                      a) know nothing about pharmaceutical manufacturing
                      b) more importantly to you, you do not wish to know.

                      If the Aussies can do it, chances are kiwis can too. Once obstructionists like you are moved out of the way.


                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Stuart you know nothing about pharmaceutical manufacturing, patents or supply in NZ as demonstrated by the pitiful links you use to try and make your point.

                      The vast amount of our off patent medications in NZ are sourced from large volume manufacturers in Asia and Europe who have the facilities, support staff and volumes to be able to manufacture, export and supply into NZ at prices which PHARMAC is more than happy with and which no local manufacturer is able to match even if they did have the facilities or expertise to do so and were willing to go through the lengthy process of setting up the local manufacturing and registering their products with Medsafe.

                      Back to your goat you go..

                    • Stuart Munro

                      And there we have it

                      the RWNJ as exemplified by Mullet are afraid to compete even with Australian highschool students.

                      Except in the matter of abuse.

                      Poor backward bastards.

                      No wonder our balance of payments is in the toilet.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      ‘No wonder our balance of payments is in the toilet.’

                      No wonder your goat has a higher i.q. than you. If you can’t figure out why a group of students creating a small amount of a single API in a lab is somewhat short of ..

                      “Basically, I’d be extending Pharmac from just being a buyer to an government department that produces many of the drugs that we need.”

                      …there is very little hope for you.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      There is indeed no hope for me Mullet.

                      I have the great misfortune to live in a country administered by backward creatures.

                      But my students build ships, and create successful microeconomic interventions, and merchant banks, and learning neural networks, they live in a world of possibility denied to New Zealanders by useless vermin like you.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Good for them.

                      I wonder if they realise their tutor is a nutter who hangs out on blogs and makes regular calls for the implementation of violence against those he disagrees with.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      In fact they rather approve – coming from cultures well aware of the endpoints of political corruption – they recognize the duty to overthrow it.

                  • David C

                    So after saying you didnt want Pharmac to contract it out you then say you want Pharmac to contract it out to a bunch of sheep farmers?

                    You know we used to produce drugs in New Zealand that that got binned because it was wayyyyyyyyy more expensive that buying from overseas?

                    WTF are you smoking?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      So after saying you didnt want Pharmac to contract it out you then say you want Pharmac to contract it out to a bunch of sheep farmers?

                      All I said at the beginning was that I’d have Pharmac produce the drugs. I didn’t say anything about it growing the marijuana.

                      I said the same thing the second time. Pharmac produces the drugs.

                      You seem to have comprehension problems.

                      You know we used to produce drugs in New Zealand that that got binned because it was wayyyyyyyyy more expensive that buying from overseas?
                      We have multiple drug development and production companies in NZ so obviously not that expensive.

                    • David C

                      Draco, I dont have comprehension problems but you certainly have honesty problems.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Where have I lied?

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      You do know that most of those companies in your link don’t manufacture in NZ ?

                      Do your realise that those that do only manufacture a very very small range of intermediates or finished goods ?

          • Pete George

            Somehow though there must be protection against misrepresented products and safety of products, important wit cannabis due to different components with different effects, particularly THC versus CBD. And even with the best of intent home made drugs are at risk contamination.

            • weka

              “And even with the best of intent home made drugs are at risk contamination.”

              No more so than brewing alcohol, or preparing food that has risk of contamination e.g. chicken. You need skills to do all those things but they’re not inherently dangerous unless you do stupid things. Can’t really legislation against stupid at that level, but you can educate.

              “Somehow though there must be protection against misrepresented products and safety of products, important wit cannabis due to different components with different effects, particularly THC versus CBD”

              This bill isn’t about that though. Once you get to making claims and selling product, there is other legislation that will cover that.

              • I think that contamination problems with alcohol are rare. Not so with cannabis products.

                UC Davis study finds mold, bacterial contaminants in medical marijuana samples

                Investigators Find Contaminated Weed In California Medical Marijuana Supply

                Understanding dabs: contamination concerns of cannabis concentrates and cannabinoid transfer during the act of dabbing.

                Fifty seven (57) concentrate samples were screened for cannabinoid content and the presence of residual solvents or pesticides. Considerable residual solvent and pesticide contamination were found in these concentrates. Over 80% of the concentrate samples were contaminated in some form.

                That last one is a research paper from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

                • weka

                  Compare cannabis contamination with food poisoning from chicken. Where there are issues, you educate people to do things safely, or where appropriate to avoid.

                  I agree that solvent and pesticide contamination needs to be looked at, but the point again is that people are growing and processing already. It will get safer when people can do it legally and share information about best practice.

                  • Johan

                    Hawks Bay council poisoned thousands of people when they were carefree with their water controls. Do you trust this gov’t enough to keep products free of contamination?

                    • weka

                      I trust small growers who sell to people they know. Same as with buying raw milk. Put some govt regulations in place and support practice that is safer. There comes a time when big is not best.

                      But, some people will need a highly refined product, no reason why that can’t be done safely by registered manufacturers. No I don’t trust the current govt, which is why I don’t vote for them 🙂

                    • David C

                      This Govt? HDC or HBRC? pick one or conflate all three?

                      Private enterprise drug dealers poison thousands of people each and every day, year in year out. What is your point?

                • Stuart Munro

                  Historically alcohol was often adulterated with anything from methanol to sugar of lead. The reason home spirits are no longer in that risk zone is largely that we have a more educated population now.

                  The most likely failure of home cannabis preparations would be that they were understrength or spoiled. Neither represent massive threats to public health, any more than bad cooking does.

        • joe90

          You see this as a simple thing?

          Actually, making extracts is a simple thing.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        Not sure if the alcohol comparison is a good idea, unless drinking really is medicine!

        Is there a defined level at which the products are safe to use, and unsafe to use?
        What I am trying to get to is: is this proposed as a medicine?
        If so, why should it not be subject to the same regulatory hurdles as any medicine?

        Or is it a threapeutic products, subject to this regulatory regime:

        I’m not particularly worried about those who grow a few plants for their own use. Anything a person does in the privacy of their own home …

        What I’m worried about firstly is that, faster than you can say “Tetrahydrocannabinol”, some massive multinational will be in there mass-manufacturing it, diluting it, cutting it with other stuff, and making it very difficult to trust that it’s actually healthy to use. And then some Indian copy-company finds it cheaper to manufacture the cheaper alternative with substitute ingredients, as they do.

        Is it proposed to be something like a Healtheries vitamin pill bottle, with no direct medical claims ? Or something with a specific prescribable effect that is part of my GP’s treatment? How would that be defined? What kinds of warning would it have on the side?

        And probably after that, is is proposed to be available for public subsidy?

        • weka

          “What I am trying to get to is: is this proposed as a medicine?”

          No, it’s not. Which is why it is such a good law from a disability perspective. I would expect alongside it that there would also be a push for more research, but it’s basically saying that people are already using cannabis medicinally, others are in need and can’t access it, so let’s stop making all that a criminal issue. And when we do that, make it affordable and easy to access.

          “I’m not particularly worried about those who grow a few plants for their own use. Anything a person does in the privacy of their own home …”

          Yes, and my reading is that this law basically allows home use and opens up the way for commercial production that is properly regulated. So the person nominated to supply is unlikely to be a large company (haven’t read it that closely and I’d guess people will try and work around that, but that stuff would be sorted via the select committee process and subsequent reviews).

          Full scale commercial production is different. Once you start producing something that you are labelling, making claims for, and selling to people you don’t know or wholesaling to retailers, then sure, regulate that like normal. What remains to be seen is where cannabis products would be placed within that range of normal.

          At the moment, even with the recent dispensation for prescription from a GP, there are very tight regulations on manufacture and supply so basically it’s incredibly expensive (and has to be imported I think). That’s Dunne wanting to make sure that products are safe. Which is fine, but there is no good reason to not make lower level products accessible now. e.g. a joint is very different than an oil that has been standardised to have x amount of cannabinoids in it. Plant to drug spectrum with lots of grey areas in between. The products at the very drug end should be regulated like other pharmaceuticals IMO and be available on prescription (so yes, a subsidy). But there will be other products that are less drug like (compare beer to spirits), that probably don’t need that degree of regulation.

          There is a cross over here with how the law would be written and systems implemented once we start moving to full legalisation or decriminalisation. e.g. I think that manufacture and import of cannabis products that look like lollies should be banned because once we get to full legal status we don’t want the lines blurred between adult drug use and things that kids like to eat.

          I also don’t want to see us setting ourselves up for small expert growers not being able to jump regulatory hoops that are designed around big commercial producers. The comparison here would be with the local food economy, where the gap between what one can do at home and what one can do commercially is way too big. The US is attempting to solve this via Cottage Food bills if you want to look it up. It’s a good middle ground and compromise that allows small producers but still attends to safety.

          • Draco T Bastard

            At the moment, even with the recent dispensation for prescription from a GP, there are very tight regulations on manufacture and supply so basically it’s incredibly expensive (and has to be imported I think). That’s Dunne wanting to make sure that products are safe.

            From what I can make out that’s Dunne making sure that large corporations can make a profit from it which they won’t be able to do if everyone and their cat can make it.

  2. Peter Dunne, David Seymour and Te Ururoa Flavell on Genter’s bill”

    The other private member’s bill that was drawn this week was the medicinal cannabis, Julie-Anne Genter’s bill. It goes further than what you have done in terms of medicinal cannabis. Will you support that bill of hers?

    Dunne: At this stage, I’m still in discussion with Julie-Anne about some provisions in her bill. I think that the bill, in one sense, is unworkable. I think, in another sense, it actually changes the whole ball game in a way that’s not what was intended. But I need to talk more with her about that.

    So what’s that? Probably a no?

    Dunne: Well, what she’s saying, effectively—

    No, is that probably a no, Mr Dunne?

    Dunne: No, I’m going to answer the question this way. What she’s saying is that she’s effectively going to decriminalise cannabis across the board. That’s not the position of a number of other political parties. I don’t think it’s where the public is at. To be fair to her, I don’t get the sense from her that that’s necessarily where she’s even heading, so I need to sit down and talk with her about precisely what she’s—

    Yes or no on Julie Anne Genter’s bill?

    Seymour: I’ve told Julie Anne I’m going to support the bill.

    Mr Flavell?

    Flavell: I haven’t seen the detail of it, but generally we support these sorts of bills, in particular around this issue, to first reading, to allow people to have their say and then make our decision from there.


    I think that Genter is likely to talk to other parties to see what can be done to make progress on her bill – but it seems that even a First reading vote is unlikely before the election. This means some changes in MPs (possibly including Dunne), with the likelihood that Parliament will keep moving towards the majority public view of liberalisation of cannabis and drug laws.

    • weka 2.1

      “What she’s saying is that she’s effectively going to decriminalise cannabis across the board.”

      Not really. She’s suggesting decriminalising for valid medicinal use. This law could stay in perpetuity with no further move towards decriminalising across then board.

      Dunne is right though, the bill changes the whole ball game, which is the point. It’s written with people’s needs in mind.

      • David C 2.1.1

        “Not really. She’s suggesting decriminalising for valid medicinal use. This law could stay in perpetuity with no further move towards decriminalising across then board.”

        and yet you say its not a pharmaceutical product. In my view you need to get your message sorted. Either its medicine (for pain etc) and will be controlled by govt in usual way OR its a recreational drug and its a freeforall.

        • weka

          I think you are confusing ‘drug’ with ‘pharmaceutical’.

          Cannabis is a plant. In it’s raw state it’s not a pharmaceutical. Someone wants to cook up some heads in butter, that’s not a pharmaceutical. Someone wants to extract oil via an alcohol solvent at home, getting closer to a medical drug, but still not needing to be legislated as a such unless one is producing commercially. Doing high technology extraction that also standardises certain constituents, makes the product highly concentrated etc, by all means legislated that as a pharmaceutical.

          “Either its medicine (for pain etc) and will be controlled by govt in usual way”

          People can use non-medical substances for pain already and the govt doesn’t control that. e.g. herbal tinctures or acupuncture.

          “OR its a recreational drug and its a freeforall.”

          Nothing about this bill is relating to recreational use.

          • David C


            You are confusing what you “know” and what voters “know”

            “Nothing about this bill is relating to recreational use.”

            and yet you want the law to change to allow people to manufacture and sell a B class DRUG ?

            • weka

              No. I want the law to give an exemption to people who have valid medical need. In order to do that without discrimination many of those people will need help. I really don’t see the difference between someone growing for their own use, or having someone else they know grow it for them. Ditto processing.

              Again, nothing about recreational use. Maybe you could clarify what you are thinking.

      • Pete George 2.1.2

        “She’s suggesting decriminalising for valid medicinal use.”

        Some see that as following what has happened in California. All you need is a doctor willing to find a “valid medicinal use” – unless you think an honesty system be used.

        I’m very pleased to see that this bill drawn, but I think it will only succeed if it is carefully managed and defined, otherwise it will be to easy to oppose.

        • David C


          I agree. Unless the message is very clear that this is for medicinal use only and not for sitting about to get baked on i think this bill (or any like it) will fail

          personally I would love medicinal use to be legal (my father could use it now) and I could live with decriminalization for personal use.

          Also , I would be keen to see “E” legal and govt controlled. If the govt wants to stop P users then give them something safe and cheap as an alternative.

          • weka

            What about the bill do you think enables recreational use? I’m just not seeing it. Bear in mind that many people who want to use cannabis medicinally don’t want to get high.

        • weka

          I guess it depends on how much you trust doctors in NZ. My experience with having to get medical support for Disability Allowance for WINZ is that doctors want to be supportive but aren’t pushovers. You need valid reasons for what you are asking for.

          If in that process there are small numbers of people scamming the system so they get better recreational use, I don’t care. Likewise people with medical need who end up using recreationally.

  3. Gosman 3

    Do people here think people should be able to make their own opioids as well or is Cannabis the only home made pain relief allowed ?

    [as is clearly stated in both the post and the bill, the issue is about cannabis not opiates. I suggest you take care in how you frame your questions so as to avoid the appearance of trolling – weka]

    • I’m for home-grown opiates. In fact, Papaver somniferum is commonly grown throughout the country by the sweetest of flowery-patterned smock-wearing straw-hatted grannies and corduroy-swathed, pipe-smoking grandfathers who love the blooms of those plants that lined the yellow brick road into the Emerald City.

      • Plus, willow bark is an ancient, time tested pain reliever. There are other sources of pain relief growing with gay abandon out their in our gardens and around our duck ponds. Hope no one’s planning a round up. Big job.

        • Robert Guyton

          Tooth ache? Try cloves.

          • Gosman

            Do you think we should ditch any medicinal safety checks?

            • Robert Guyton

              Around which plant? Willows?

              • Gosman

                All home made medicines. Do you think there should be any safety standards and/or testing performed?

                • weka

                  I think we should regulate chicken soup immediately! No more garlic sales in the supermarket too, only on prescription.

                • Safety checks around all home made medicines?
                  Good heavens! Whatever happened to personal responsibility, Gosman? I’d be offended if someone suggested I wasn’t capable of making a comfrey poultice or a tray of horehound throat lozenges – I’d need someone to perform a safety check on my home made medicines?! Perish the thought. I know what I’m doing, as do many, many other “home-bakers”. When my 2-year old son was running a fever, ought I to have rung an authority before stewing up some yarrow to bring his temperature down? Ought I to have got a sign-off before applying crushed plantain leaf to the nettle sting on my grandson’s leg?
                  I read weka’s note to you and guess from that you are trying to skew the argument un helpfully. I hope I was useful in helping you avoid further censure from the mod.

                  • Gosman

                    I haven’t stated an opinion one way or the other on the subject of safety of home made medicines. I’m merely trying to establish if the proposal on offer is one where there are no checks or if people believe a safety regime should be put in place.

                    • Yeah, and you have one of those mouths in which butter can safely sit for hours un-melted.

                    • weka

                      Butter with other fat-soluble substances in it perhaps.

                    • McFlock

                      If you’re trying to establish something about Genter’s bill that is not evident from this post or the bill itself, maybe you should ask her?

                      If you think people might accidentally grow poppies and cook heroin when they actually just totally intended to grow some MJ and make some oil, then obviously you’re ahead of the pack when it comes to synthesizing “home made medicines”.

                    • Gosman

                      That is not what I am trying to establish. I am looking to understand the principles behind the bill. It seems a little unclear. Is Medicinal cannabis going to be treated as a natural medicine or as a prescription only one that can be grown at home but only under strict rules?

                      [neither. Cannabis will remain an illegal drug, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. You can look up what ‘drug’ means in that context. Genter’s bill will create exemptions for some people based on medical need and support from a doctor. At that point it doesn’t matter what one calls it, its legal. It’s actually very simple.

                      I’m starting to wonder if you bothered to read the post, and you can guess how that might make me feel as a moderator. I’d now like an acknowledgement of this moderation note, and a further acknowledgement that you have read the whole post if you want to continue commenting here. Putting you in moderation until I get an answer to both – weka]

                    • http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2017/0270/latest/DLM7287003.html

                      There ya go, Gosman, knock your self out. Let us know what you learn, if anything.

                    • Gosman

                      I understand where you come from Weka and have read the post. However I have been to a talk from Peter Dunnevon this very issue. He is sympathetic to medicinal use if cannabis but under the same terms as for other drugs. The proposed legislation seems a little vague whether it will be treated as a medical drug (i.e. be subject to trials) or can be used as pain relief under a similar arrangement to other natural medicines but requiring a prescription. Hence my line if questions.

                    • weka

                      Thanks for responding, it’s always better if you explain what you are thinking.

                      “The proposed legislation seems a little vague whether it will be treated as a medical drug (i.e. be subject to trials) or can be used as pain relief under a similar arrangement to other natural medicines but requiring a prescription.”

                      Actually it’s not vague at all. It’s saying that cannabis at the level that can be processed at home shouldn’t be a prescription drug. Yes, trials are done and will be done, and at some point there will be better products available, but in the meantime let people get on with it. There is no reason to read cannabis as a prescription medicine and from what I understand it’s Dunne’s position on this that has prevented use. Doctors won’t prescribe because the trials haven’t been done, but you can’t do the trials while the drug is still illegal.

                    • Gosman

                      Am I still in moderation?

                      [r0b: yes you are, will ask weka about this]

                    • weka

                      sorry, my bad, have amending the mod list now.

            • weka

              “Do you think we should ditch any medicinal safety checks?”

              See my moderator note above.

              • Gosman

                Why are you making a distinction between different types of home made medicine?

                • Are they all the same? Should they be treated as if they were?
                  Koromiko leaves relieved the dysentery of our soldiers during the war – fadge after fadge was shipped overseas to cure what the conventional medicines had no effect on – is the use of those leaves, which grow in many NZ gardens and throughout our native forests, to be regulated for home use, Gosman? Is this the ridiculous proposal you are making?

                  • Gosman

                    I’m not sure. But I don’t see why we are making a special case for home made Cannabis based medicines and not for other types. There may well be a reason.

                    • You’re not sure if there’s a difference between various plant extracts?
                      I hope you’re not going to self-medicate from your own garden, Gosman. You seem to have no commonsense at all!
                      Think, Camelia sinensis.

                • weka

                  “Why are you making a distinction between different types of home made medicine?”

                  You’d have to be more specific Gosman. And I’d suggest you do that shortly, because repeatedly filling the thread with the same paraphrased but unclear question is likely to annoy my moderation nerves. You have a keyboard and a brain, why not use them.

                  • Gosman

                    I believe the objection to home made cannabis medicine would be the same for any type of home grown medicine. There are no quality controls or safety checks made. Dunne has already signalled his concerns in this area. He has spoken to people (including me) about this in the recent past. He regards medicine as medicine and it should be treated the same.

                    • Dunne “regards medicine as medicine”?

                      He’s a genius, a towering intellectual giant! It’s as I’ve always suspected, despite the disguise.

                    • Gosman

                      Actual medicine has to meet certain standards before it is allowed to be prescribed. I believe that is what Dunne wants for Cannabis.

                    • weka

                      What makes something a medicine? Is it the chemical composition? The way it gets used?

                      Why does cannabis need to be prescribed?

                    • Gosman

                      That’s Dunne’s objection it seems to this Bill. It doesnt seek to treat Cannabis as a medicine and is essentially trying to legalise it by the back door. Now I have no objections if the bill does do that but it us less a medicinal use bill then

            • Kay

              Well this has been cleared by Medsafe for prescribing in NZ:

              “Officially” safe because it’s been through all the testing but one of the most deadly prescription drugs around. Have a read of the side effect list. Slightly off topic I know, but my point is, a bit of home made CBD that might have slight contamination is not lethal like clozapine is, yet for some reason the anti-drugs brigade don’t have any sort of problem with these highly dangerous prescription drugs being in circulation. Hell, the anti-convulsant drugs I take are likely to kill me in the end- extremely toxic but I guess since they’ve been made in a safe factory and not contaminated then that’s ok? I wish CBD were a viable alternative for me 🙁

              (Clozapine is on the verge of killing my best friend and I know someone who’s died from it, so not exaggerating.)

              • Gosman

                Can you make this drug in your home or does it have to be made under strict controls and prescribed by a doctor ?

                • Kay describes Clozapine as “toxic”, Gosman. Are you claiming home-grown cannabis is toxic?

                  • Gosman

                    Toxic is not really a scientific term. Tap water is ‘toxic’ if used incorrectly.

                    • I offered you a pin head and you couldn’t help but pull on your dancing shoes. This is getting a little easy, and therefore a bit dull.

                    • weka

                      Good point. Just like with water, you need to learn what the optimal dose of cannabis is without making you ill. It’s going to vary from person to person.

                • Kay

                  If we ignore you will you go away?
                  Please excuse my delayed reply- I’m currently severely zonked out from increasing one of those lovely safety checked drugs made under strict controls and prescribed by a doctor, dozed off for a bit. You should try it sometime. At least I can be confident the factory in Switzerland it’s made in isn’t contaminated….they’re pretty good with their safety standards.

                  Gos, what you really need is an illness that CBD either can, or has the potential to be a treatment for. Then you might develop this thing called empathy and quit with the moronic comments.

              • Stunned Mullet

                @Kay – because Medsafe registers a medicine it does not in any way mean that the medicine is safe. This is why prescription medicines can only be prescribed by a registered medical professional so that the benefit for the person being prescribed the medicine in question outweighs the risks.

            • adam

              Your an idiot Gosman, we have regulation around natural medicine and it’s been in place for years. We even have provisions for what is safe and unsafe, including the native fauna. Way back in 1981 the act was updated, and as recent as 2016 Tony Ryall has added to it.

              So when you get half a brain back and get that the adults have already had this discussion come back, ah.

              • Gosman

                You think Medicinal cannabis should be treated the same as other natural medicines do you?

                • adam

                  Are you really that dumb, obtuse, or just down right lazy?

                  I’ll going with lazy because if you took 5 minuets to even briefly look at the act, a simply solution would have come into even your peanut size brain.

                  Medicinal cannabis should be covered by the 1981 Act, like all other medicinal products.

                  Mountain, mole hill. For a so called libertarian, you seem hell bent on creating a lot of new laws.

        • Bill

          Willow bark. Found in the jaw of neanderthal remains. Seems the poor bugger had an abscess. And that was from 45 000 years back? Longer? 😉

          • Robert Guyton

            I wonder if it was the abscess that killed Mr Neanderthal, ’cause they can, you know, kill ya.
            Otoh, it may have been the un regulated use of willow bark that did the big fella in. The willy-nilly use of self-selected and applied plant medicines is a VERY DANGEROUS thing, don’tcha know! (just ask Gosman! He’s all a-twitter with worry)

      • David C 3.1.2

        Ha. I know a bloke who does a fair bit of covert lets say ‘freedom farming” of said poppy. For very recreational purposes , but he is a very fit smart 60 something, good luck to him.

  4. RRM 4

    Doesn’t go far enough.

    NZ citizens should be free to smoke / drink / imbibe what they like in the privacy of their own homes.

    Employers should be free to require that you turn up to work sober.

    Hurting each other should remain illegal, intoxication of whatever form should be no excuse.

    • bwaghorn 4.1

      yep i had a beer with a logging guy the other day , the boss decided to do a drug test so 5 of the crew left rather than fail and get fired , it needs to be about impairment not recreational use,.

      • David C 4.1.1

        It becomes about impairment when one of the logging crew dies on the job thru an error and when testing is done post mortem is found to have been smoking at work, then worksafe destroys the employers business and tries to imprison the employer.

        My deal with staff was dont smoke on Thursday night and I wont drug test. Friday and Saturday they could do as they please and by Sunday the recreational budget was blown so it wasnt an issue 🙂

        I knew if I tested I would make a problem. You only test if you want to carry thru with sanctions and/or treatment (neither of which the staff want)

  5. Good on the greens for this. I hope it goes through.

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