Call for Caution On Medicinal Marijuana Laws

Media Release 13 October 2015
Family First NZ is calling for politicians to reject knee-jerk law changes to medicinal marijuana, and wants them to comprehend the concerns around the real agenda behind liberalising drug laws and also the abuse of medicinal marijuana. However, Family First is supporting further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms and responding to individuals with serious medical conditions where traditional methods have failed.

“NZ’ers need to be aware of the smoke-screen of ‘medicinal marijuana’. The strategy of groups who want dope legalised is to promote medicinal marijuana which simply manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns. But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to ‘recreational’ purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director.

“Scientists have used the marijuana plant’s primary active ingredient – THC – as a pill form for nausea and appetite stimulation. It may be that there can be the development of non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems. But this should be decided on the basis of thorough clinical trials, as recommended by the US Institute of Medicine.[1] We support the NZ government’s caution around this issue, but we also support a compassionate response to those in real need.”

“We certainly don’t want to go down the Green’s road either. Their medicinal cannabis bill in 2009 – which was soundly defeated – allowed for teenagers to cultivate and smoke cannabis with parental permission, created dope ‘pimps’, and appointed police to be the ‘dealers’. It also deemed medicinal purposes to include depression and mental illness, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, despite research suggesting that marijuana actually exacerbates these conditions,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Dr. Christian Thurstone, a psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and medical director of one of that state’s largest adolescent substance-abuse-treatment programs, said“In the absence of credible data, this debate is being dominated by bad science and misinformation from people interested in using medical marijuana as a step to legalisation for recreational use.”

As Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) asserts, “Opium has medical value, and it is called morphine. Marijuana has medical value, too – but just as we don’t smoke opium to receive beneficial effects, we need not smoke marijuana to get its medical value.”

Family First is calling for the following:

  • the expansion of research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms (Supported by NZMA)
  • the establishment of an emergency or research program that allows seriously ill patients to obtain non-smoked components of marijuana before final Ministry of Health approval
  • the Government instruct the Ministry of Health to update the prescribing guidelines for pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines to include Sativex as a medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and to continue to make pharmaceutically based THC derivative medicines available to treat serious medical conditions when traditional methods have failed.
    ENDS