A woman in New Zealand facing various criminal charges over the importation of medical cannabis products has had her day in court – and emerged victorious.
According to NZ’s Cannabis Party, Rebecca Reider was also facing charges over possession of cannabis oil, plant materials and seed.
“I feel hugely relieved,” said Ms. Reider. “It feels like a significant win for the right to medicinal cannabis. The judge considered my medical situation and my overseas cannabis prescription, and decided that I shouldn’t face a criminal conviction. That’s a great victory.”
The reason Ms. Reider received a discharge without conviction on all charges is she obtained a valid medical cannabis prescription from her family doctor in her state of origin – California, USA; where the use of medicinal marijuana is becoming increasingly commonplace.
Ms. Reider faced a maximum sentence of eight years in prison for the importation of a cannabis product alone.
While certainly very relieved at the outcome, Ms. Reider pointed out she was still had to endure the police entering her home unannounced, a violation of privacy and deprivation of the medicine she uses for treating a complex chronic pain syndrome.
“It’s time for the law to change, so no other patients have to go through this nightmare of being treated like a criminal,” she said. “Neither the judge nor the majority of the police officers who searched my home believed that I should be punished. It’s time for Parliament to catch up.”
Cannabis products are Class B1 controlled drugs in New Zealand. While the medicinal use of marijuana products can be authorized, the process of gaining authorisation is complex and slow. Additionally, the use of unprocessed or partially processed marijuana leaf or flower preparations is not permitted.
Six months ago, a Crohn’s Diseases sufferer in New Zealand wasn’t as lucky as Ms. Reider. He was sentenced to six months’ supervision for using cannabis to relieve his symptoms. The penalty was far lighter than it could have been though and the judge in that case appeared to have a degree of empathy and an understanding of the debate surrounding medical cannabis.