NZ: Govt dismisses calls for medicinal cannabis review to be widened

Sums it all up really….

Radio NZ reports

A Ministry of Health document leaked to RNZ shows officials will not even consider extending an amnesty to allow all chronically sick people to use illicit cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis campaigners say the government’s dogmatic approach is “ludicrous” and ignores that the current regime is not working.

In late 2018, MPs passed legislation creating a temporary criminal defence so people with life-limiting illnesses could use cannabis while the wider medical regime was being set up.

Ministry officials are required by law to deliver a report to Health Minister Andrew Little by mid-December on whether the amnesty is still needed or should be amended.

But an internal document, obtained by RNZ, shows officials have pre-emptively ruled out expanding the protection to cover people with less serious conditions.

“The review will not consider widening the exemption to medical uses other than [for people in palliative care] or to other drugs controlled by the Act,” the paper stated.

Medicinal cannabis advocate Mark Crotty told RNZ the tight parameters were “ludicrous”.

“For them to rule out extending it before even listening to patients … that’s awful. At least listen and make a decision from that.”

Crotty – who has Crohn’s disease – said most patients were still unable to access medicinal cannabis legally due to its prohibitive cost and lack of availability.

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