Kiwis Re-Affirm Support For Medical Marijuana

New Zealand medical cannabis survey
Image: BigStock

Results just released from another poll indicate nearly three quarters of New Zealanders support medical cannabis.

A ONE News Colmar Brunton poll posed the question: “Do you support or oppose the use of marijuana for medical purposes?”

Seventy-three per cent of respondents said they supported medical marijuana use, 21 per cent were opposed and six per cent were unsure.

The results in relation to a pro-medical marijuana stance were very similar to a UMR survey in March, which suggested 72 percent of New Zealanders would support a medical cannabis program. In that survey 15 percent weren’t sure and 13 percent opposed it.

When asked to comment on the most recent poll, New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said he would have responded to the question with a “yes” as well.

The Minister reiterated New Zealand is monitoring medical cannabis progress in Australia and is likely to follow suit with any approvals granted here.

While Mr. Dunne appears to have a rapidly thawing attitude towards medicinal marijuana, he’s by no means a pushover.

In early April, Mr. Dunne approved a cannabis-based product called Aceso Calm Spray following an application from a patient’s consultant. It was only the second time he has approved a cannabis medication.

“The application was comprehensive, innovative and considered. The Director of Mental Health and the acting Director of Public Health recommended its approval,” said Mr. Dunne.

Aceso Calm Spray’s active ingredient is cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that is being trialed for treatment of a wide range of conditions; everything from skin complaints to severe epilepsy.

Aceso Calm Spray is considered a non-pharmaceutical grade product.

The only pharmaceutical grade cannabis medication approved for use in New Zealand currently is Sativex, and just for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. However, loopholes in NZ law appear to permit the possession use of cannabis and medical marijuana products when the patient has a valid prescription from a doctor in a state/region where it is legal.

Cannabis products are Class B1 controlled drugs in New Zealand and Ministerial approval is required before they can be prescribed, supplied or administered. The process for approval of non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical grade products is a complex one.