Not satisfied with recent legislation tabled by the New Zealand government concerning medicinal marijuana, Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand has written up policy it wants lawmakers to adopt.
Last month, MCANZ said medicinal marijuana related legislation introduced in New Zealand’s Parliament in December didn’t go far enough. While it would remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the nation’s schedule of controlled drugs, it only provides statutory defence for terminally ill patients possessing and using cannabis sourced via illicit channels.
The legislation passed its first reading in late January, while a second and more permissive piece of legislation heard missed the boat.
MCANZ’s policy includes a compromise on patients growing their own marijuana, whereby they would be permitted to do so in ‘limited circumstances’ and when properly licensed by the country’s Ministry of Health.
It would also see much stronger decriminalisation for medical use, reductions in prescription barriers and the exclusion of vaporisers from the definition of drug paraphernalia.
“New Zealanders want fair laws around medical cannabis but much of the policy being debated in the house is misinformed or incomplete,” said MCANZ coordinator Shane Le Brun.
“That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to write this country’s most comprehensive medical cannabis policy document ever, and present it MPs across all parties to make their job as easy as possible. Our policy is good to plug-and-play.”
MCANZ also want to see boosted domestic cannabis production with quality controls similar to those in Canada.
According to the policy document, approximately 70 people have legal access at any one time in New Zealand to cannabis medicines, due to the crippling costs.
Tax revenues generated by licensed producers could be quarantined for a fund to help subsidise medicines for those who need financial support.
“Compassionate suppliers,” i.e. those not seeking profit would also be permitted and supported under the policy.
MCANZ: Don’t Follow Australia’s Lead
As for following Australia on medical cannabis, MCANZ warns:
“The Australian system is flawed, with significant issues including delays to access caused by over-regulation”.
It’s hard to argue with that. As we mentioned yesterday, it appears there are only around 500 Australians are able to access cannabis medicines nationally; even though legislation was passed nearly 2 years ago. In terms of patient numbers, it works out Australia isn’t much ahead of the Kiwis, taking into account population differences.
The MCANZ policy document can be viewed here (PDF).