MPs back calls for medicinal marijuana

NZ Herald 13 October 2015
Union boss Helen Kelly’s call for better access to medicinal marijuana has been backed by MPs from both sides of the House.

Ms Kelly, who is terminally ill, has admitted to using cannabis oil for pain relief and wants Government to improve access to the drug.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday[MON] that Government was not considering a law change.

“There’s a process that people can go through and as you see that process works.

“We work on an evidence and science-based approach and … if someone wants to bring up a particular case for use to the minister’s office in good faith he will look at it.”

Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry said there was a case for people to get access to new forms of palliative relief.

National MP Chester Borrows said he would definitely vote to decriminalise medical cannabis.

Labour’s deputy leader and former Health Minister Annette King said the process for accessing medicinal marijuana was too convoluted.

Labour’s associate health spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said opiates used for pain relief were far more addictive when used as recreational drugs than cannabis.

Labour MPs Kelvin Davis, Phil Goff, and Phil Twyford all said they would probably support a law change, while others including David Shearer said the law should at least be reviewed.

Social Development Minister said she was firmly against decriminalisation, even if it was purely for medical purposes.

“I would absolutely be anti any loosening of our cannabis laws. Children’s lives are completely destroyed by their parents’ use of cannabis.

Government Ministers Gerry Brownlee and Paul Goldsmith said they would probably oppose a law change, while Education Minister Hekia Parata said she had not considered the issue.

Labour’s West Coast MP Damien O’Connor is drafting a bill private member’s bill which would improve access to cannabidiol.
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