A Golden Bay woman who avoided a lengthy jail term for importing cannabis hopes her case will help other medicinal users. Rebecca Reider, who has complex chronic pain syndrome, was facing five charges for possession of cannabis oil and other products. She was also charged with importing cannabis products - chocolate bars with edible cannabis; a conviction which could have resulted in an eight-year jail term. She was discharged without conviction.
Her lawyer Sue Grey argued the law allows exemptions where the medication was prescribed overseas.
Section 8(2)(l) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 was used by Ms Grey, in the precedence setting case, to justify her client's importation of medical cannabis chocolates, which had been lawfully prescribed in California.
8 Exemptions from sections 6 and 7
A written judgement regarding the legal argument will be released by the Nelson District Court in the near future.
In 2013 Reider began treatment with doctors in the US who prescribed medicinal cannabis for her chronic pain. She said for her family doctor to prescribe medicinal cannabis for the condition was a "no-brainer", which authorised her to legally purchase cannabis and cannabis-derived products.
On a trip back to California last year she obtained another medical cannabis prescription while visiting her doctor.
In November, New Zealand Customs intercepted two legally manufactured medicinal cannabis chocolate bars that Reider had posted to herself from the US. The product is legally manufactured in the US by a company called Kiva. Each bar contains 180mg of THC.
When three Takaka Police officers subsequently searched Reider's home in Collingwood, they found four more cannabis chocolate bars, cannabis oil, cannabis plant material and cannabis seed.
Reider said it's distressing to be treated like a criminal while trying to deal with a health condition that the medical establishment has been mostly unable to treat.