New Zealanders deserve a positive and solutions-focused discussion on access to medicinal cannabis, which should be legal, accessible and affordable, the Green Party said today.
Green MP Julie Anne Genter has submitted a Member’s Bill into the ballot which would legalise access to cannabis products for New Zealanders suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition.
“We’ve seen a sea change in public attitudes about medicinal cannabis in recent years, thanks to the many brave people who have spoken out about their experiences with chronic pain and terminal illness,” said Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“My Bill would legalise cannabis and cannabis products for people who are suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition, with the support of a registered medical practitioner.
“The Bill is based on the best evidence of how to improve mental and physical wellbeing and minimise harm for cannabis users.
“I hope to get cross-party support on this Bill at first reading so that the Health Affairs Select Committee can hear from experts and everyday New Zealanders about how we can help alleviate suffering and chronic pain.
“Current cannabis laws are out of date and causing harm, including the criminalisation of individuals and families at a significant cost to the economy.
“We still don’t have affordable access to medicinal cannabis in New Zealand.
“Changes made by the current Government to facilitate access to pharmaceutical products containing cannabis have still left it out of reach for most people. Sativex can cost $1200 a month, and is currently only available for multiple sclerosis.
“Unless lawful medicinal cannabis is made reasonably accessible, current strong demand will continue to be met largely by an unregulated black market,” said Ms Genter.