A Parliamentary committee has declined to make any recommendations on a Grey Power petition to allow people to grow cannabis.
The Justice and Electoral Committee has today reported back on a petition by Otamatea Grey Power president Beverley Aldridge, signed by more than 1300 people and calling for Parliament to "legalise the cannabis plant".
Aldridge submitted decriminalising cannabis would ease people's suffering from cancer and painful diseases such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and emphasised many Grey Power Otamatea members needed the benefits of cannabis now for pain relief.
The committee noted that Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne had made changes to improve access to medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand, and Parliament's Health Committee is currently considering another petition about access to medicinal cannabis.
"As we consider the petitioner's concerns are primarily a health issue, rather than one of justice, we therefore consider that we are not best placed to offer recommendations to the House on this issue," the report states.
Aldridge in April told the Northern Advocate that as she aged she had grown tired of watching friends and family members suffer serious illness, while the pharmaceuticals they were dosed with had side-effects as bad as the symptoms they were designed to treat.
She has never used cannabis herself but has a long-running interest in natural medicine.
Dunne announced in February that he would be removing one barrier to accessing medical cannabis in New Zealand - the overly bureaucratic approval process.
It is now up to the Ministry of Health to approve patients' applications for the drug. That responsibility has previously been held by the minister.
Some cannabis law reformists wanted the Government to go further by delegating the role to specialists or GPs. But Dunne said that approach had not been successful in the United Kingdom.
- NZ Herald