NZ Politician Says Govt Approach To Medical Cannabis Post Referendum Is ” Icing On A Cruel Cake”

The NZ Herald reports

ACC is being called on to change its approach to the funding of medical cannabis products, with advocates saying the current process is cruel and outdated.

That process is forcing some people into the black market to illegally purchase cannabis to help relieve pain.

One man spoken to by the Herald, who did not want to be named, said that after ACC refused his request to fund pain-relieving cannabis products, he was forced to enlist the services of “green fairies”.

These are people who provide cannabis products to people who use them to relieve pain.

Green Party Drug Law reform spokeswoman Chlöe Swarbrick said ACC’s approach to cannabis is a symptom of a system that is “so obviously broken – this is just icing on the cruel cake”.

ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni told the Herald the Government was in the process of returning ACC to its “original purpose”.

That purpose is: “Assisting all New Zealanders who have an injury”.

She did not explicitly reference reforms around cannabis funding.

But she said changes at ACC would consider a range of conditions the agency covers and taking an “evidence-based approach to updating the list of chronic illnesses caused through workplace exposure to harmful environments”.

In the meantime, however, ACC chief clinical officer John Robson has admitted “we do not have a cannabis strategy” and each request is considered on a “case-by-case” basis.

“All applications to fund cannabis-based medicines are considered by an ACC clinical advisor with a relevant pharmaceutical or medical background.”

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