Medicinal cannabis advocates in Nelson are among those wanting international input after a "disappointing" review of guidelines for the drug.
A government review of the guidelines released last month said five medical professionals who had made at least one application to prescribe approved medicinal cannabis product Sativex unanimously supported the current rules, suggesting only minor changes.
Requirements to have exhausted all other treatment options to gain approval for Sativex and to be hospitalised if taking unapproved cannabis-based medicine were removed but several advocates said the review didn't go far enough.
Shane Le Brun is the co-ordinator of Medicinal Cannabis Awareness New Zealand (MCANZ), a charity currently fundraising to provide Sativex for 10 patients across New Zealand.
He said that while the review consulted well-regarded medical professionals, the level of clinical experience in prescribing medicinal cannabis in New Zealand was "incredibly slim".
"Some medical cannabis experts in the [United] States with less formal medical backgrounds still have a body of knowledge from first-hand experience that leaves the sum total of New Zealand's clinical experience in the dust.
"A single reputable specialist from the States may prescribe medicinal cannabis to more patients in six months than the entirety of New Zealand has ever prescribed."
Golden Bay woman Rebecca Reider, who recently escaped conviction for importing cannabis products prescribed to her in the U.S, is one of 12 individuals who publicly denounced the review this week, calling for an independent inquiry.
She said the "inward-looking" report was "wilfully ignorant" of overseas research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis and "dismissive" of patients' experiences.
"They have created an echo chamber of people [the current system] is working for and didn't talk to the people it's not working for."
Claims made in the report that applying for a Sativex prescription was not onerous and that social media over-hyped the usefulness of medicinal cannabis products were "callous and disrespectful" to patients, she said.
She also questioned the report's assertion that there was "a lack of legal mechanism" to allow patients at the end of their lives to self-administer cannabis.
"Police haven't knocked on [terminally-ill union boss] Helen Kelly's door but they did knock on my door, and they do knock on the doors of less-prominent patients.
"It would be great if police didn't prosecute people using cannabis for serious medical reasons while we [New Zealand] look at the law."
Le Brun, of MCANZ, supported this sentiment, citing a 2010 Law Commission report which recommended police "adopt a policy of not prosecuting in cases where they are satisfied that cannabis use is directed towards pain relief or managing the symptoms of chronic or debilitating illness".
Reider's lawyer Sue Grey said police always have the discretion not to prosecute but that the buck stops with Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman.
"There's an exemption in the Misuse of Drugs Act that allows doctors to prescribe cocaine-based and morphine-based medicines. He [Coleman] just needs to make one for cannabis and then any doctor could prescribe it to their patient. It's such a simple, speedy, easy process."
She said the Ministry of Health needed to listen to "common sense and humanity" rather than waiting for domestic studies into the efficacy of medicinal cannabis to emerge.
"People who anecdotally report benefits are evidence."
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the feedback from the review was "unanimously supportive that the guidelines and process are sound".
His position of a "robust and scientific" approach to cannabis has not changed, which means "identifying the greatest therapeutic benefits and determining the most appropriate ratios, dosage and delivery mechanisms".
"Otherwise we are essentially flying blind and hoping for the best, an approach that flies in the face of evidence-based medicines policy.
"It is my hope that by releasing this feedback it will go some way to balancing out the irresponsible and ill-informed messages being passed off as fact, and provide a degree of reassurance to those who are genuinely looking for respite to significant health issues," he said.