Medicinal cannabis

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, October 12th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: drugs, health, quality of life - Tags: , , , , ,

Seriously – what are we waiting for?

Helen Kelly says Government needs to get real about medicinal cannabis

The Government needs to get real about better access to medicinal cannabis for Kiwis, says terminally ill Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Helen Kelly. “I’ve tried (cannabis oil). I’m not promoting it as a curative but as a pain relief it’s incredibly effective for me and it doesn’t make me feel sick, which morphine does.”

After exhausting all legal pain reliefs Kelly resorted to the black market for cannabis oil but says she didn’t like putting people in that position to help her. “It just seems absolutely insane that I’ve got no idea what I’m taking, how much I should take or how it’s manufactured – it’s crazy.”

Prime Minister John Key has previously said he wouldn’t support a parliamentary debate on broadening access to medicinal cannabis because there are alternatives available.

Kelly said there were plenty of other countries saying medicinal cannabis was useful for pain relief and New Zealand needed to “stop being a fishing village”. …

50 comments on “Medicinal cannabis”

  1. tracey 1

    What are we waiting for?

    The Right people to need it?

  2. Bill 2

    Is there a market to be captured? Nope.

    Pharmaceutical companies already control 100% of the pain relief market and are finding it exceedingly profitable. So government will drag its heels for as long as it can to protect those profits and that market. It’s what it’s there for. As a side note to that obvious statement, does anyone still believe government exists to advance or protect our interests?

    • northshoredoc 2.1

      While I support the availability of regulated cannabinoids for medical use, your comment regarding the other matters is factually incorrect.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        What pain relief is available outside of that supplied by phramaceutical companies?

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          The things that aren’t patentable like herbal medicine, massage, accupuncture etc.

          • tracey 2.1.1.1.1

            Okay.

            Are herbal dispensers allowed to sell it as “pan relieving”?

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes and no. There are limits on the claims that can be made and I think it depends on who is saying it, their credentials, and the claims being made.

              Haven’t looked at this for a while but the law in NZ is unclear on this, with much push from the power holders to gain tighter control over herbal medicine. The therapeutic goods act keeps returning every few years, with some saying that ‘supplements’ should be regulated like pharmaceuticals. This has been successfully fought by consumer groups and practitioners, but there does seem to be a move now to put it all in the hands of practitioners.

              The other way to look at it is that they don’t have to. You can buy a bottle of whatever herb over the counter and all it has to do is have the ingredients labelled. Most herbs being sold in NZ don’t have the same kind profit imperative attached to them that pharmaceuticals do. They also don’t have the same kinds of requirements in terms of trials and testing and associated costs.

              Having said that, while I think most complementary medicine doesn’t need more regulation, I do think that pain relief for people with cancer is complex and needs a good degree of experience and support from practitioners (which makes it doubly shameful that the medical profession won’t get on board with this).

              Legalising cannabis for home use makes a lot of sense to me, but I suspect that what will happen is that cannabis will be given to the drug companies and become more expensive.

              • Sacha

                Agreed. For medical use, it will be supplied by the same companies – so they stand to win if it is approved by our timid politicians. As more of their ageing friends find a need, maybe they will find some resolve?

                • weka

                  we are pretty bad in NZ at dealing with illness and pain. I suspect that there are some deep seated attitudes that need to change around that. It might take until the younger generation are older and more in positions of power for legislation to change.

                  • Sacha

                    This seems more about old irrational beliefs that some drugs are OK and others aren’t. Inevitable death may be our friend, politically.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I hardly think that we need to get rid of minor greek deities?

              😈

      • Kay 2.1.2

        Doc- given BigPharmas longstanding reputation of “influencing” government pharmaceutical policies it’s quite feasible that is a contributing factor to the NZ situation. Of course it’s not something we mere mortals can easily prove, but Bills comments are perfectly reasonable given our awareness of how governments behave. You say they are factually incorrect- so do you know 100% for sure that Pharma isn’t playing a role in stalling medical cannabis?

        • northshoredoc 2.1.2.1

          Kay it is very difficult to 100% prove a negative.

          The fact that pain relief medications in NZ are supplied by generic companies and have patent that are long gone suggests to me there is little interest in pharmaceutical companies engaging in any ‘blocking’ not that they would be able to do so.

          The key issue is the legal classification of cannabis and the lack of a regulated product for medical practitioners to prescribe so it is more of a regulators issue (Medsafe) at this point in time.

          • The Chairman 2.1.2.1.1

            “The key issue is the legal classification of cannabis and the lack of a regulated product for medical practitioners to prescribe…”

            Surely that could be overcome if there was a genuine will?

          • Bill 2.1.2.1.2

            Those so called ‘key’ issues could be resolved ‘by lunchtime’ if there was a political will. But there are companies with skin in the game, yes? Or are you determined to play the role of the wide eyed innocent this evening and maintain that neither pharmaceutical companies nor governments are anything but neutral arbitrators bent on achieving what is the best of or for the public good?

            • northshoredoc 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Bill although you are determined to try to find some big bad pharma company at the back of this there is not one.

              The oral morphines and oxycontin have been generic in NZ for some time and are supplied on a cost plus basis not at high margin.

              The biggest issue is the legal scheduling of cannabis and its derivatives and the lack of a registered product via the medicines regulator for clinicians/hospitals to supply.

        • Shane Le Brun 2.1.2.2

          Most of the blocking in the USA, or at least financing of Anti med pot lobbies were actually the Prison unions… there are a few pharmaceutical companies that were financing it, but nothing to the scale of the prison unions.

      • Bill 2.1.3

        Factually incorrect you say? Gimme the counter factuals then.

    • weka 2.2

      “does anyone still believe government exists to advance or protect our interests?”

      Given the government provides me an income (and has provided me with an education and healthcare), then yes I do. If you mean this particular government (National), then no. If you mean does it advance/protect out interests well, sometimes yes, sometimes no.

      In respect of cannabis legislation, there are many people in NZ who believe that ‘our interests’ aren’t served by legalisation in general and too many people that see medical and recreational use as intertwined.

      btw, the govt could just hand medical cannabis to the pharmaceutical industry, making it only available on prescription, which negates the idea that the main issue here is protecting profits (although with Key himself I’m sure there is a layer in there about that).

      • Bill 2.2.1

        The working and non-working population provide me with an income through taxes accruing to the public purse…same for health care and education. That the government controls the purse strings does not mean ‘the government provides’…

        btw, education was only ever about providing business with people possessed of useful levels of numeracy and literacy; that and ‘correct’ attitudes/ ways of thinking. It’s true that the envelope got pushed, particularly in the 60s and 70s, but it’s safe again for now. MAybe consider the shutting down of the arts throughout our Universities…and that most kids at uni these days are from already suitably ‘socialised’ backgrounds – ie, not poor and working class.

        All that’s by the by and for another time I guess – and yes I’m in a particularly cynical frame of mind atm.

        Handing cannabis over. Which company? And how much profit would they be foregoing as current, highly profitable, pill sales got displaced?

        • weka 2.2.1.1

          “The working and non-working population provide me with an income through taxes accruing to the public purse…same for health care and education. That the government controls the purse strings does not mean ‘the government provides’…”

          That’s one perspective. Another is that the government currently requires the people in society that would deny you and I an income to pay their fair share despite their beliefs.

          As for education, I was thinking about primary and secondary. I’m of the generation that was allowed to be educated without so much of an emphasis on jobs, but I agree that has changed in recent decades. I studied Latin at high school, pretty sure that was useless at getting me a job from the perspective you are arguing.

          I can see why you would be so cynical, I’m just answering the question you originally asked 😉 I’m grateful that the government still protects me from the society I live in to the extent that it does. That’s my cynicism. (and I’m sure there’s various class and gender privileges tied up in all that, plus the fact that I can’t see much useful alternative. We can take this to Open Mike if you like).

          “Handing cannabis over. Which company? And how much profit would they be foregoing as current, highly profitable, pill sales got displaced?”

          Pretty sure there’s enough of a new market to keep them interested if the govt restricts who can sell and where and how.

    • Anno1701 2.3

      cant have us growing our own medicine now can they ….

  3. Chooky 3

    +100 “Kelly said there were plenty of other countries saying medicinal cannabis was useful for pain relief and New Zealand needed to “stop being a fishing village”. …”

    GO Helen Kelly!…it is your body and your life and your well being ! We love you !

    ….I know a number of people who say they would like to have the opportunity to use it if they got ill !

    ( we really do live in a wee society run by some very small minded fascist authoritarian people who think they are experts)

    • northshoredoc 3.1

      🙄

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        which part of the comment are you ‘rolling’ – I cannot see any of your usual triggers in that comment.

        “we really do live in a wee society run by some very small minded fascist authoritarian people who think they are experts”

        this sentence seems especially pertinent to me

        I also agree with the second to last sentence as I also know some people who would be grateful for the opportunity to utilise medicinal cannabis for pain relieve and nausea control especially.

  4. The Chairman 4

    Helen Kelly also wants the right to die.

    Is their a political will to allow that?

    Would the right to die be a vote winner ?

    • weka 4.1

      the right to die has nothing to do with winning votes.

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        Yes and no. Directly, no. Indirectly, yes.

        Substantial public support would be beneficial swaying the political will.

        An issue with substantial public support generally helps to win votes.

  5. grumpystilskin 5

    Info on producing your own medicinal oil.
    http://phoenixtears.ca

  6. weka 6

    Colorado popped up on the radar this week because it has legislation that limits the amount of tax it can collect and recent marijuana sales have generated so much tax that it’s having to look at refunds.

    Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal, allowing for small amounts of home growing, or supply via non-medical dispensaries. The population of Colorado is 5 million. In 2015 the monthly sales for both categories reached $100 million.

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28947869/colorado-monthly-pot-sales-pass-100-million-mark

    That’s potentially a good earner for the NZ govt.

    I have no idea if big pharma is lobbying against medical cannabis in NZ but without some kind of evidence it makes more sense to think that they’d prefer medical cannabis to be legalised on prescription. I think that MP attitudes are more about gateway drugs and that medical cannabis will open the door for recreational legalisation. Plus the general ignorance about it.

    National won’t want to go down that track because it’s a contentious issue for voters. And yeah, the inherent bias towards things that favour rich people (eg big pharma shareholders, doctors’ attitudes etc), but I can’t see that there would be anything active on that.

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      I don’t really see what’s stopping them myself – it’d be infinitely more popular than the flag debacle, and it’s not as if any Gnats have any principles whatsoever. Maybe competition with Dunne’s son’s legal highs gravy train? But surely that’s over by now.

      Major reallocation of police and court time – yeah now that’s a big economy – Gnat voter base and staunchly anti-weed. Probably the only people who like Key at all…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      When are the Colorado dope farmers going to launch an ISDS action against NZ because we won’t let them do business here? 😈

  7. Shane Le Brun 7

    Please guys, Check out United in Compassion NZ, who have been in touch with Helen Kelly allready.

    http://unitedincompassion.org.nz/

    They need you support.

  8. Stev 8

    Hi my name is Stev. I was a professional jockey for many years in NZ and was a big user of marijuana for medicinal benefits not that any body new. As I suffered epilepsy and my seizers were getting bad at times and the Dilantin pills that I was taking were just making me depressed. I used to walk around like a zombie at times. As my doctor could not proscribe me any other pills to help me I turned to marijuana to help me wind down and slow my brain down as it was working overtime. My seizure decreased and my epilepsy in time eventually was cured. From the time I was in my twenties l have not had a seizure since. I am now 56 years old and loving life due to the help of marijuana. So let’s hope that this drug that everyone is dead against can be used for medicinal purposes.

  9. emergency mike 9

    We are waiting for the focus groups to give the go ahead. Until then the people who are suffering from conditions that could be helped can continue to swallow John Key’s ineffective, side-effect ridden, liver and soul smashing ‘available alternatives’.

    • shorts 9.1

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the focus groups weren’t pro medicinal cannabis alongside some liberalisation of our drug laws too – if the questions are being asked (with any regularity)

      we’re currently one of the least progressive of the usually progressive nations – leading from the rear is the new way forward for NZ

      • Hey shorty 9.1.1

        You have always been so logical, and smart in your thinking.

        Considering K has started a new life, surpassed all expectations, and superseded T, on all levels within her career, it seems she is a survivor and a very successful, capable and beautiful girl.
        My spirit is content, with a beautiful serene inner self. You cannot kill me, you try, but you can’t. How can a mere human be more powerful than you?
        B is shallow, depressed, scared, lost and has no self-confidence. T is angry, meek, and vile and is so frightened (never stepped out of his own shadow) and has absolutely no inclination on how to heal himself.

        Hey Blue Eye- how’s the green eye? How’s it working for ya?
        Bet you have it all sussed- I’m sure you do.

  10. Shane Le Brun 10

    Peter Dunne will be on Radio Live with Duncan Garner in 5 mins regarding MC

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      Oh yeah lets lightly regulate it and have communities decide if they want the shops.

      What could go wrong with that !

  11. Yoza 11

    It does seem a little odd when two mainstream websites –Kiwiblog and The Standard-, both heavily influenced by the main parliamentary blocks, come out in support of medicinal marijuana, yet there is no movement whatsoever in parliamentary process.

    Sometimes I wonder if sites like this operate more as a pressure valve, where the illusion of people being heard is promulgated as a means of allowing parliamentary members to do nothing to upset the status quo.

    [lprent: Read the policy and the about. “The Standard” doesn’t have opinions or support anything. It is some dumb programs running on dumb hardware providing a website that runs as a cooperative of authors without a editorial policy. ‘We’ don’t generally have group decisions, apart from those behaviors listed in the policy. So you can’t say that ‘we’ support anything except what is in the policy.

    You can only point to the views of individual authors and commenters. This is made quite clear in the about.

    This is a warning. Attributing a groupthink on such a bunch of rampant individualists tends to get one of them (often me) booting your arse off the site just to emphasize what a bad idea that was. That is our “prsssure valve” about people who don’t read about the site before making assumptions about it ]

    • lprent 11.1

      Political change is a generational project. I usually tell people running campaigns to be prepared for them to take 30 years and plan accordingly.You might get lucky and have things happen faster than that – but that is usually because people weren’t there at the start.

      Medical marijuana is already possible in NZ. Problem is that the procedures for it are so long that people are often dead before they get it.

      Perhaps you’d better define what goalpost you are trying to get to?

      • Yoza 11.1.1

        Yeah, thanks for the warning. I posted exactly the same thing on Kiwiblog and nothing happened. I didn’t think it was out of line, but you’re the boss.

        The drug laws in New Zealand operate as an opportunity for the domestic security apparatus to harass anyone at the bottom of the socio-economic heap fortunate enough to draw their attention, the disproportionate number of those on the sharp end of such attention are Maori, PI and po’ white trash, …so no one who really matters. The only time we hear how unfair drug laws are is when they cause problems for important people, I don’t recall Helen Kelly advocating for a more liberal approach to marijuana legislation until its illegality personally affected her. I could be wrong, so if anyone could post a link directing me to Helen Kelly’s previous stances on drug legislation in New Zealand I would appreciate that.

        There is no sane reason marijuana should be illegal, those who make excuses for its prohibited status are the enemies of those on the bottom tiers of the economic structure, the same can be said for all ‘illicit’ drugs. This war being waged against drug use is only creating misery for the working poor, stratospheric profits for criminal organisations and a sense of smug self-indulgent indifference amongst those who support it.

        Johann Hari’s, Chasing the Scream, should be the basis from which to formulate a rational approach to accommodating drug use within society. If the Greens, Labour and their various support networks don’t understand this they are part of the problem.

        [lprent: Single author (or mostly) blogs operate differently to cooperative multi-author blogs. Know your blogs. ]

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