The Nat’s position on cannabis

Thank you for contacting me regarding cannabis legislation in New Zealand. This Government has no plans to change the legal status of cannabis. We do not think that there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise, which outweigh the harm it causes to society. I have seen too much harm caused by this drug to have any tolerance for its broad decriminalisation.

Government policy over successive governments has been to not support the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. In terms of medical use, such as for pain relief, there are already pharmaceutical forms of cannabis that provide measured doses and quality control.

Since 2008, a mouth spray called Sativex, which contains extracts from cannabis, has been able to be prescribed by medical professionals. It is used by multiple sclerosis patients and those with chronic pain, and it use requires ministerial approval (delegated to the Ministry of Health).

The Government’s position has always been, and will always be; NOT using any psychoactive substances is the safest and best option for any individual, whether they are synthetic or natural. This Government has passed legislation removing from sale all remaining so-called ‘legal highs’ until they can be reasonably proven to be low-risk.

Yours sincerely

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Nelson MP