The New Zealand Drug Foundation is asking the Government to widen their proposed medicinal cannabis bill.
Drug Foundation head Ross Bell told the Health Select Committee, who are considering the bill, to widen the provisions of the bill.
As it stands the Government bill provides a legal defence for anyone who uses cannabis who has twelve months or less to live.
The activity would still be illegal but prosecution would be unlikely given the legal defence.
The bill also sets up an advisory committee to work out how to proscribe cannabis products going forwards.
Bell told the select committee that while he supported the principles of the bill it could go much further.
He argued the defence should also be extended to people with "severe and debilitating" conditions.
"Only focusing on terminal patients isn't good enough. In reality terminal patients aren't getting arrested by Police but many other patients are," Bell said.
Police can already exercise some discretion over who they arrest, but Bell and other submitters argued this power was not enforced indiscriminately.
Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, whose own medicinal cannabis bill was defeated at first reading, said the Greens were worried that there was "no rule of law" over who received discretionary treatment - and that it should be doctors deciding, not police.
"We currently have a situation where police on the front lines are being quite open about the fact that they are de facto decriminalising the use of cannabis for medicinal reasons or recreational reasons," Swarbrick said.
"There is no rule of law. So who is being prosecuted there? Because I can almost guarantee you that it is not certain classes or demographics of people."
Shane Le Brun from Medicinal Cannabis In Aotearoa supported this point.
"The only people I know of that are discharged without conviction for medical purposes are old white women," Le Brun said.
"Gotta be some advantage," replied National's Nicky Wagner, 64.
PHARMACISTS LESS KEEN
Graeme Smith from the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand said pharmacists were concerned about the law change.
"We are very concerned about quality and safety," Smith said.
"We're concerned that is this bill passes there will be pressure for treatment creep into other areas."
He said while the bill would make the system more equitable the black market cannabs could not yet be said to be safe or of medical quality.
The research he had seen on cannabis showed that roughly 30 per cent of regular users developed characteristics consistent with "cannabis use disorder" - a recognised diagnosis related to craving and psychosocial issues.
The bill passed its first reading with unanimous support.