Peter Dunne has always been pretty chuffed to be leading the party that stands for common sense.
So it's overdue he recognised the idiocy of the Associate Health Minister deciding on medical cannabis cases, rather than doctors.
The issue has again seen daylight with terminally ill Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly making a plea to the Government to improve access to medicinal cannabis. Prime Minister John Key has sympathised but said the Government won't ease access.
It is available now, but only if a doctor and a specialist make a case to the Minister of Health and the minister approves. The minister is Peter Dunne.
The system is unwieldy and means decisions are being made for political and moral reasons rather than health. Cannabis is illegal and that seems to be the end of it in the Government's view.
The groundswell of opinion on cannabis in general is rapidly changing. Large parts of the Americas and Europe have decriminalised possession and growing the drug for personal use.
The evidence that cannabis is helpful to people who are seriously ill is incontrovertible.
At the very least, the stigma attached to medical cannabis, or products derived from cannabis, because of the illegality of the plant needs to be seen for what it is - unhelpful. We need to improve access to this drug and let health professionals decide on the best course of treatment for their patients. It's hard to imagine the minister saying no if a doctor and specialist said yes. Adding another layer of bureaucracy seems unfair when we are talking about getting comfort to the dying or seriously ill.
- Wanganui Chronicle