It’s time to change our cannabis laws (sign the petition)

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 31st, 2018 - 42 comments
Categories: greens, health - Tags: , ,

Sick New Zealanders deserve access to medicinal cannabis which is legal and affordable.I have taken on Julie Anne Genter’s bill on cannabis to ensure those sick, in chronic pain and terminally ill New Zealanders can get access to medicinal cannabis.Supporting my bill would make it legal for any patient with a doctor’s approval to possess and grow their own cannabis.

The most recent Ministry of Health study found that of 400,000 New Zealanders who use cannabis, a whopping 42% do so for medicinal purposes, to alleviate pain or nausea. It’s time for our laws to catch up with what is already happening – so those suffering don’t risk jail for no reason other than archiac, cruel laws.

Going down a pharmaceutical route is going to price cannabis out of people’s hands. Until people can legally grow their own cannabis or designate someone to grow it, patients across Aotearoa are likely to remain criminals. We can do better than this.

The Green Party has always campaigned for a compassionate approach to medicinal cannabis, and as a partner of the Government we want to see this done right. Supporting my bill through to Select Committee will ensure the best range of options for medicinal cannabis law change are debated by the public.

Chlöe Swarbrick
Green Party MP


42 comments on “It’s time to change our cannabis laws (sign the petition)”

  1. Ad 1

    Having two bills on the same thing is just dumb.

    Everyone know this one will fail, and be a complete waste of their political profile and their political time.

    They need to focus on their Zero Carbon bill and stop wasting resrouce that they can ill afford.

    • Lara 1.1

      Interesting how non GP members like to tell the GP and it’s members what they “should” do.

      Pretty sure that I and most other GP members disagree with you. That’s how the party works dude. The GP decisions and actions are decided by it’s membership.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        That just shows that their members are wasting the Parliamentarians time.


        About time the Green MPs tried something they have a hope of winning.

        • weka

          It’s not about winning Ad, it’s about influencing change. The point of having the GP Bill there is to end up with one good piece of legislation that is better than what Labour want alone. And if you ask people who have skin in the game the GP one is the better Bill.

          • Ad

            Change has already occurred: the actual bill that will affect change is the government bill.

            Within 6 hours this entire issue will be gone from Parliament and won’t see the light of day for at least another term. So the Green MPs can then get to doing something that will actually result in change.

            • adam

              The government bill as it stands, is tosh.

              An utterly filthy selling out of the hopes of the late Helen Kelly.

            • SPC

              Hardly, this is the first sparring on the 2020 referendum.

            • R.P. Mcmurphy

              I hope that is not true. If the governments bill fails then this government will be in for the roughest ride of any parliament in new zealands history.
              it is time for the spineless jellyfish in parliament to do the right thing and to stop pandering to the faux moralists, fake christians, the justice industry and the de ballled kiwi capons who skawk on the radio every night. This country is sad enough without the most useless proletariat in the the world gumming things up because they have an opinion.

  2. simbit 2

    Go for it.

  3. Phil 3

    I am all for legalising drugs as a way to minimise their harm including avoiding funding criminal gangs.

    However, I am very concerned about this approach to medicinal cannabis use. Surely doctors need to be able to prescribe specific doses which are effective and mininise unwanted side effects. This is why we take aspirin tablets rather than chew willow bark. I can’t see why this doesn’t apply to using cannabis based pain killers nor why the resulting tablets should need to be any more expensive than say aspirin especially if the government funds any necessary reasearch and trials and ends up owning any resulting patents.

    • weka 3.1

      Cannabis herb is not a refined drug. Better to let people manage the dose themselves.

      When you refine drugs you get a more potent medicine but you also risk getting more side effects. So let the pharmaceutical companies made pharmaceutical drugs (including cannabis based) and that can be regulated as per normal, and let the people who are already experts in managing pain and other health issues with the plant itself continue to do so.

      There is no way that anyone can produce a cannabis derived product for the same or less than someone who is growing their own. The GP Bill takes into account that many people needing to use cannabis are low income.

      • JustPassingThrough 3.1.1

        Cannabis herb is a herbal remedy and so section 28 of the Medicines Act applies.

        28 Exemptions in respect of herbal remedies
        Notwithstanding section 17, but subject to the other provisions of this Act and to any regulations made under this Act, any person may, in the course of a business carried on by that person, manufacture, pack, and label, or sell or supply, any herbal remedy for administration to a particular person after being requested by or on behalf of that person to use his own judgment as to the treatment required.
        Notwithstanding anything in sections 17 and 20 to 24, but subject to the other provisions of this Act and to any regulations made under this Act, any person may manufacture, pack, and label any herbal remedy, and sell or supply any herbal remedy, if the remedy is or is to be sold or supplied—
        under a designation that specifies only the plant from which it is made and the process to which the plant has been subjected during the production of the remedy, and does not apply any other name to the remedy; and
        without any written recommendation (whether by means of a labelled container or package or a leaflet or in any other way) as to the use of the remedy.

        • Stunned Mullet

          Incorrect – Cannabis products are currently Schedule 2, Part 1 (Class B1) controlled drugs.

        • Anon

          That wouldn’t even help with the laws being proposed, as the legal exemptions specifically state the purposes for which cannabis may be used – and herbal remedies /cannot/ make any claims as to medical uses, ergo they couldn’t legally be supplied as pain relief and therefore wouldn’t meet the exemption requirements.

          • weka

            I think the point is that the plant itself could be legalised and sold without any claims.

            • Anon

              Yeah, unfortunately looks like that isn’t going to happen anytime soon though. Which brings us right back to the issue of cannabis as medicine, and actually getting predictable and reliable medical products that doctors can prescribe – herbal remedy laws do not help us with that, neither does legalising grow your own.

              I’m happy with people doing whatever recreationally, but when it comes to medicine there are standards to meet. I know if I needed it as medicine I would want to see these met – not just trot on down to the apothecary. (though yes, these things take time and it may be better than alternatives in the interim).

              • Rosemary McDonald

                ” I know if I needed it as medicine I would want to see these met – not just trot on down to the apothecary.”

                A very dear friend of mine once said that a person would eat shit if they felt sick enough or were in enough pain.

                Anon, you speak about there having to be ‘standards’ to meet when it comes to medicines, as opposed to substances used recreationally.

                I’m not sure what you mean by ‘standards’?

              • weka

                Lots of people, myself included, do pop down to the apothecary and are pretty expert in managing our illness and disability. It’s the same with cannabis. There are people who are expert in this field from their own informed experience, please don’t dismiss that.

                Yes, pharmaceuticals should be developed from cannabis, for all sorts of reasons. But that’s not a reason to stop people from growing the plant and making their own. Legalising personal medicinal use wasn’t going to prevent better legislation around pharmaceuticals.

      • Anon 3.1.2

        I’m not sure the side effect claim may be true in the case of cannabis, there are at least two active ingredients with fairly different effects – if you’re looking for the effects of one then refining the drug to remove the other surely /removes/ side/undesired effects?

        • weka

          Depends on what you mean by side-effect. If you are talking about getting high, then that’s an issue of plant selection from what I understand. I wasn’t talking about that though, I was meaning that when you start pulling out active ingredients you get more effects (side and intended). That’s the whole point of drugs, you want a stronger and more targeted effect (hence aspirin instead of willow). But often that means other effects too (hence aspirin has more harmful effects than willow). The problem isn’t removing one of the active ingredients, it’s the taking it out of the whole plant and losing the mitigating factors. That may be a useful thing to do, but it may not be useful for *everyone.

    • Siobhan 3.2

      If you are suggesting we need doctor prescriptions…From my own wider family/friend/work colleague experiences the idea that doctors are responsible distributors of ‘mind altering’ medication has been debunked by Prozac and Tramadol prescriptions.

      If that’s anything to go by Dr’s will probably over prescribe, for reasons best known to themselves.

      As for the drug companies that make medications like Panadol…they too have a vested interest in making as many people as possible decide they ‘need’ medication, just imagine the marketing possibilities.

      • Anon 3.2.1

        Though mind altering effects aren’t what is wanted here, pain relief is. Often with pain relief you’ll get a maximum dose, but told to use as needed /up to/ that. And with a properly regulated drugs the mind altering effects could be reduced or perhaps even removed altogether, in time.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          “And with a properly regulated drugs the mind altering effects could be reduced or perhaps even removed altogether, in time.”

          Can you give some examples of this from the long list of regulated drugs for pain relief?

          I.e. effective pain control with no ‘mind altering effects’?

        • weka

          you understand that people already breed plants with low psycho-active effect right? And people process cannabis for that too. There are good reasons to also make pharmaceuticals, but it’s not necessary for some people, they can work successfully with the whole plant. And pain is not the only reason that people want medical cannabis.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “you understand that people already breed plants with low psycho-active effect right?”

            weka…its fairly obvious that our Esteemed Representatives are on the whole woefully ill informed on such matters. Someone earlier actually mentioned Charlotte’s Web like it was new…!

            You may be expecting too much from anon, although, we could look at doing a bit of education.

            basics like CBD, THC and those very interesting terpenes.

    • SPC 3.3

      Sativex costs about $1200 a month.

  4. eco maori 4

    It’s excerlint that we are taking about this issue. There are a lot of organisations lobbying against changing our society attitude to weed. These organisations are lobbying against weed for all the wrong reasons it’s farcical and draconian the drug companies do not want kiwis to be able to produce there own medicines fulls top come on people wake up do we want to end up like Americans

    who have millions go without basic medical care because of there farcical health insurance scheme that just pour more money into the 1% pocket hell no. Its quite easy to draw up a pro and con list on weed ECO MAORI KNOW the pros will far out weight the cons we are being conned buy big businesses once again. This has to stop so we can make policy that benefit everyone and not just the1% Ka kite ano

  5. beatie 5

    I smoke cannabis when I can afford it and the effect on my rheumatoid arthritis pain is almost magical. Think; being sore and stiff from over-exercising and then sinking into a hot bath and that’s the level of relief. Trouble is , it’s expensive, illegal, unreliable quality and I don’t actually want to be permanently ‘stoned’.

    Many of the Americans on my Facebook RA pages find immense relief from CBD oil and it has helped them to get off the incredibly toxic conventional RA medications.

    I see that the Greens bill has failed.

  6. leagalise its not a drug its a plant

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    Obviously its not time to change our cannabis laws.

    The status quo will remain.

    Those growing and making cannabis remedies to ease the pain of other humans without any desire for monitory profit will continue to risk arrest and imprisonment.

    Way to go, elected representatives.

    And for Labour’s wishy washy good for nothing Bill…have they worked out yet what penalties will apply if the permitted cannabis user fails to die within the allotted span?

  8. Anyone know the names or a link to identify the eight Labour party members that voted with the National and NZ First block to reject the GP bill from Chlöe Swarbrick. I have little doubt that Stuart Nash from Napier will be amongst them. Shame on them.

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