Medicinal Cannabis Bill To Be Debated In NZ Parliament

Medical cannabis bill - Green Party NZ
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A Green Party Bill on medicinal cannabis will soon be debated in New Zealand’s Parliament – a debate that is long overdue says the Party.

Green MP Julie-Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill would make it legal for any resident with a terminal illness or debilitating condition to use any cannabis plant, preparation, or derivative; with the support of a doctor’s recommendation.

The Bill goes much further than the recent announcement of easing of restrictions on cannabidiol in New Zealand, which was seen as a major victory in itself.

“The recent ‘softening’ of the law, announced by Peter Dunne, goes only part of the way to ensuring New Zealanders can get the pain relief they need,” said Ms. Genter.

“It does not guarantee medicinal cannabis products will be affordable for the average New Zealander – in fact, it relies upon the import of expensive overseas-developed medicines.”

The Bill allows for the cultivation of medical cannabis by patients and/or a nominated support person. In order to qualify, a patient would need a report from a medical practitioner supporting that person to use medicinal cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Qualifying conditions include:

  • any terminal illness
  • any severe chronic disorder of the immune or nervous system
  • chronic back or other pain
  • any other medical condition that a medical practitioner certifies may benefit from supplementary plant cannabinoids

Full details of The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill can be viewed here.

“We are finally going to have the conversation about medicinal cannabis that New Zealanders have been crying out for,” said Ms. Genter. The Green Party has also launched a petition to gather public support for the Bill.

NORML New Zealand strongly supports the Bill.

“Julie Anne Genter’s private member’s bill is a complementary approach that can work in tandem to Dunne and the Nat’s preferred pharma-based route,” said part of a statement from the group.

However, it looks like Ms. Genter will have a battle on her hands as signs of major opposition have already become clear. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne reportedly stated the Bill “in one sense is unworkable”

Originally from Los Angeles in the USA, Ms. Genter graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA and studied Politics at Sciences Po Paris, before relocating to New Zealand as a scholar at the University of Auckland.