- Date published:
7:30 am, February 16th, 2016 - 30 comments
Categories: death with dignity, drugs, peter dunne - Tags: helen kelly
Picture courtesy of Foxy.
Helen Kelly is not in great health. I am expecting her a la Matt McCarten to eventually completely vanquish the cancer she is suffering from but so far she is battling. She is still going strong and pumping out social media messages that are full of compassion and justice and biting analysis but she has reached the stage where she believes she needs help to cope with the pain caused by her cancer.
There are two options, submit to opiate derivatives and scatter your brain or try an alternative.
I have seen what opiates do. It is not good. It is basically signing in to accelerate what may be inevitable and to do it with a reduced quality of life and dumbed down brain function. Helen would hate it.
So she wants to try an alternative. Clearly she knows what the effects of cannabis are. She wants to use a commercially provided variant that has a consistent composition.
But Peter Dunne has refused to grant Helen’s application for ministerial approval. His Ministry has put in place an approval system that is incredibly hard to succeed at and has not approved Helen’s application because she needs to show that other drugs have been tried and the symptoms are still poorly controlled.
I don’t know why the Minister and the Ministry are bothering with this opposition. Perhaps they think that there will be a rush of people dying of cancer trying the dreaded weed and that this will present such a terrifying threat to the social order that it needs to be avoided at all costs.
After all according to some the dreaded weed is a gateway drug to heroin and then after that there are all sorts of calamities including an early death to worry about. We should not allow cancer sufferers to use cannabis because it may shorten the length of their natural lives. Yep that is as ridiculous as it reads.
Helen’s request is that she be able to use a drug that is illegal although not as illegal as the drug the health system wants her to use, unless it is prescribed. But somehow the more dangerous drug is easier to prescribe. Opiates yes, cannabinoids not unless you jump through many, many hoops.
Russell Brown has been following the issue and in his typical fashion has presented a devastating critique of the hoops that Helen is being made to jump through. Amongst other things according to the Ministry’s criteria she has to provide “evidence that all reasonably applicable conventional treatments have been trialled and the symptoms are still poorly controlled”. She may not have the time to try all reasonably applicable conventional treatments.
Brown summaries the situation really well:
This issue isn’t going to go away and I think the ministry needs to do a much better job than is suggested by these swiftly-drafted criteria, which look in some respects as if they’re designed to make the problem go away.
In particular, there should be some better thinking around palliative care. It doesn’t make sense to treat every application to improve the quality of life of a dying person the same as a bid to give a sick child an experimental treatment. The criteria are ostensibly specifically dedicated to cannabis products, but they’re actually entirely general. We need this to be done better and more transparently.
As I’ve noted before, the use of cannabis in palliative care represents a particular ethical case. If a patient testifies that the treatment does in fact improve their quality of life and ease suffering in a way that approved pharmaceutical products have not, that should count for a great deal. The case for preventing access becomes much, much harder to make.
So what is the social threat in allowing an intelligent woman to use a drug that is regularly used by many New Zealanders mostly without an adverse response?
There is some politics. National is vehemently anti drug reform. Dunne is a very minority minister whose existence depends of National’s generosity. But in a world where liberalisation of cannabis laws is becoming increasingly common Dunne’s reticence seems anachronistic.
If you feel aggrieved after learning about this, and I certainly do, then you should sign the petition that the talented Foxy is running asking Dunne to grant Helen Kelly permission to use medical cannabis oil.
I can’t believe we have to petition parliament in order to plead for common sense and compassion from those who represent us all.
we have to petition peter fucking dunne to show some compassion and human decency.
While all of our political parties have neither got the guts nor the fucking testicular fortitude to simply just introduce legislation to make marijuana legal. How shameful. How incredibly shameful.
We’d rather spend money on prisons and on drugs that diminish the quality of life of our loved ones for not other reason then some trumped up ‘facts about the evil weed’ dating back to the 20’s of the last century, and won’t nobody think of ze children.
Fuck we are a pathetic specimen.
Dunne will never allow Helen permission to use cannabis for pain relief from her cancer, because Dunne, Key, the national party & their supporters want to see & make Helen suffer in pain right till her last breath.
What a totally fucked up view you have there.
It’s sad, isn’t it.
Personally I believe all drug use should be decriminalised but at the very least medical cannabis oil should be in use right now and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only centre-right voter that thinks like that
Neil you have the wrong slant. Helen is one of the people, one who identifies herself as an ordinary citizen doing good moral work. The politicians don’t care about ordinary citizens wants and needs. They have to slide the proposal for action before a voteometer which registers with a yes or no whether the action will be useful in gaining voting advantage in their target group. They know that the soporific mass of NZs can’t stir their brains enough to nut out the advantage of this medication, from personal, from effective, from scientific, from medical considerations.
So no need to be precipitate in making a decision. She isn’t the relation of anybody important to the Gnats. So no need to hurry.or worry. There is no vindictive emotion here, just no emotion at all.
Well summed up. Thanks greywarshark.
This issue shows up the fact that our elected ‘representatives’ are not working in our best interests as sharply as any.
Even though recent polls consistently support cannabis law reform by clear margins, politicians have their own electoral ‘brand’ to think of. Suffering of human beings in pain, dying, or in jail, not so much.
” Dunne, Key, the national party & their supporters want to see & make Helen suffer in pain right till her last breath.”
You really are one sick puppy. There is a bed waiting for you in the psych ward.
If any of the highly paid public representatives read this thread, get to work.
NZ First, Labour Party NZ, The Greens go to work, and get that women the medication that works for her.
Just for once all of you sanctimonious pricks in Parliament work for the people that fucking pay your wages.
They haven’t figured out how they can totally control it and thus make huge profits from it. What they have is potentially massive competition and little to no profit.
F*#k the law, someone provide this woman with the medicine she needs !!
its not like this country isnt up to it eyeballs in ganja allready
some of the highest rates of cannabis use IN THE WORLD with 1 in 3 ( !!!!) admitting regular use (more than 100 times a year )
We puff more than the Jamaicans….
that might be true,
but it would also be true that Helen Kelly, her grower, and her supplier would all be breaking the law.
And i can see some Law and Order fuckwit get a hard on just by the thought of getting to arrest that Union Chick and her suppliers just for the fucking sake of it.
IF our opposition parties had some guts and fortitude they would make this case with the help of Helen Kelly a case for medicinal marijuana and a case for decriminalization of the use of marijuana.
But sadly, it seems that they are all to afraid to do what is right, so busy appealing to the boozer crowd and the prescription drug crowd.
Last but least, if we have private for profit prisons we need to fill those beds, cause profit. So no nothing is gonna happen in Aotearoa the country where everyone has lost courage and human decency.
“but it would also be true that Helen Kelly, her grower, and her supplier would all be breaking the law.”
i would be willing to take that risk if i was in position to do so TBH
Id feel morally obliged to provide relief for someone who is suffering, BS laws are supposed to be broken/resisted IMO , but im a “direct action” kinda guy and i appreciate not every one is
and to be fair , anybody growing or suppling or even consuming is breaking the law already
You might be willing the risk, but would Helen Kelly be willing to risk you running the risk.
But then i understand that she already has help in that regards, but would rather do it legitimately so as to prevent people from coming into trouble with the law.
When my time comes (cancer is predicted to reach 1 in 2 in the next 50 years)
I know I won’t bother to petition Mr Dunne , I’ll be growing and making my own RSO.
What would you rather, die or break a stupid outdated law ?
Helen Kelly has stated she wants to live, doesn’t want to die (Checkpoint with John Campbell) and is already breaking a stupid outdated law to help herself.
It’s our government that needs to change to accommodate the needs of people with terminal illness, patients shouldn’t be left unsupported and left to their own devices.
I don’t think it will be easy to sway Dunne but signing a petition is also an act of solidarity. He also can’t be left unchallenged. That would be wrong.
Dunn needs to grow a brain and get rid of the copious paperwork. The woman is dying.
Give her the pain meds now, she wants!!!
It sounds like the terminally ill cancer sufferers on benefits who have to keep applying. Yes still dying. Yes more paperwork for doctors and everyone else. Yes more stress for victim…
(In) Efficiency government style.
“When my time comes ”
why wait ? , i started medicating 25 years ago 🙂
I have singed the petition BUT I have little faith that such a public plea will sway Dunne. He has a very singular way of looking at things and which issues to get behind – I honestly believe that he feels little compassion for those who are suffering unless they fit his definition of the “deserving” who he can help and get some political leverage out of at the same time.
During PPO’s anti Dunne campaign in 2014 we heard back from constituents who had been really let down by him, when they went to him, as their local MP for advocacy,not just let down, but insulted as well. (I’m not going to go into individual examples out of respect for those that spoke to us in what they probably assumed would be confidence).
In the meantime keep your head up high Helen. Your strength and tenacity continues to be an inspiration. I really hope you get through to the end of the hoops despite the clumsy and unnecessary obstacles in your way.
It is about time that we had the law changes needed for medical cannabis and legalisation, the boom for tourism would make our heads spin and allow us to clean up our waterways and provide Green jobs. Time for the Nats to be sacked!
How can we petition a man such as Mr. 0.22% ?
This guy does not have a mandate to be in Parliament.
It comes about because of the National Party desire to stay in power by any means.
How is this democratic ?
Please don’t give Dunne any more sense of importance.
He is useless dildo dunne
I don’t know if someone has already said this but I think that picture image of Helen Kelly is really terrific. Thanks Foxy for your great art contribution to the post.
“I don’t know why the Minister and the Ministry are bothering with this opposition.”
There are a number of interesting theories around about that. Peter Dunne is well known to cannabis law reformers for his regular anti-pot outbursts. Here’s last weeks: Here’s how deluded you become when you live by the weed. Crazy, crazy people indeed!!! This in response to the Cannabis Party calling for an investigation of dodgy use of taxpayer money. When many on twitter pointed out that whatever the merits of he Cannabis Party’s claims, Dunne’s response amounts to nothing more than a good ol’ reefer madness ad hom, he predictably had no rational reply other than a ‘can’t be bothered figure it out yourself’ line.
The maker of ‘Druglawed’, a film I believe every New Zealander should watch, (9.8 rating on imdb), has promised to answer this very question regarding Dunne in the currently under production sequel.
In ‘On Drugs’ David Lenson argues that the cannabis high itself is antithetical to the consumerist/capitalist culture. The high concentrates our attention on the present moment, the present focus of our attention – thoughts of a future task, goal, or desire cease. Also, it reverses the fundamental nature of a transaction. Instead of advertising and marketing creating a state of mind in the consumer, (the desire to buy), to be converted into a desired commodity to be owned, the consumer converts a commodity into a desired state of mind and the commodity itself is burned to ash. In these ways cannabis is subversive to the dominant culture. Speculative theorizing of course, but interesting.
The consumer converts a commodity into a desired state of mind of their own choosing.
I think it is time that New Zealand had a sensible discussion around cannabis. It is a natural occurring plant (in some parts of the world), where other drugs are man made and we have no idea what is put into them.
I don’t understand why something that has minimal effects is illegal, where the legal alternative has all sorts of side effects.
Not withstanding the above, sometimes to change a silly law like this, is to have the law in forced. If a large enough group of users were to stage a protest in parliament grounds, by smoking up, there is no way the police could arrest everybody, or the courts could process them all. Some times civil disobedience is a good thin