Nelson mother Kelly Patchett doesn't want to be dependent on opiates to manage the chronic pain she suffers from.
She would much rather use medicinal cannabis in its different forms for relief from her fibromyalgia which causes widespread muscle and joint pain.
"I can make a cup of tea in the morning which will ease my pain, I can eat a cookie in the day and I can have a little cone at night and that will take care of everything, instead of taking approximately 16 pharmaceutical opiates to get through the day."
Patchett was one of several Nelsonians who organised a rally at the Church Steps in Nelson on Saturday to campaign for safe, legal access to affordable medicinal cannabis.
The event was held at the same time as a march in Auckland's Queen St in favour of medicinal cannabis.
Patchett said the group had organised the event in response to Prime Minister Bill English's comments after oncologists revealed that a high proportion of cancer patients were turing to cannabis for pain relief.
English recently told Newshub's The AM Show he was opposed to legalisation of the drug.
He said at the time he was concerned increasing access to cannabis for medicinal purposes would increase its recreational use.
A steady stream of people stopped by 1903 Square at the top of Trafalgar Street and signed the petition to increase New Zealanders access to medicinal cannabis. They were also able to sample cannabis infused balm, cannabis cookies and cannabinoid oil capsules.
Patchett said she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and other auto-immune disorders after the birth of her second child.
She was prescribed opiates which made her feel "numb" and she began smoking cannabis to alleviate the pain. She noticed with a little bit of cannabis each day, she was able to sleep easier at night.
"I was looking at my little girl and I thought if I keep taking all these pharmaceuticals, I'm not going to last to see her get married, my liver function will crap out."
She was now weaning herself off the opiates.
Patchett said the event was about showing people that medicinal cannabis wasn't about smoking weed.
"When people think about medicinal cannabis, they think about people sitting there having J's and being on sickness benefits, but the fact is a lot of these people are working, they can eat a cookie and go to work."
Nelson man Lucas Benfell said a diagnosis of chronic regional pain syndrome, severe migraines and a heart condition had led him to see the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
He said the rally was about breaking down the stereotypes around cannabis.
"A lot of people are stuck in the Reefer Madness and there is a lot more to it than that, that is what we need to get them to see. People need this, they don't want it legalised so they can get stoned, it is medicine."
He said blocking access to cannabis for medicinal purposes was a breach of human rights.
Nelson Labour candidate Rachel Boyack spoke at the event and said she was supportive of the use of medicinal cannabis.
Boyack said she was a long time colleague of the late Helen Kelly who became a staunch advocate for medicinal cannabis.
"I don't think she ever saw herself as becoming a medicinal cannabis campaigner until she got sick but she spoke to so many people in the last months of her life who were struggling to manage their pain."
Boyack gave out copies of the private members bill written by Labour's West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor, which supported the use of medicinal cannabis.
The bill would change the law so that it was treated as a medical decision, not a political decision.
She said it was "outrageous" that Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne was responsible for making health decisions for people through a "long-winded and bureaucratic process".
"Our position is very much that it should be treated as a health issue - not as a political issue."
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