Kelly’s cannabis request rejected

Helen Kelly’s oncologist applied to the Ministry of Health to be legally allowed to ease her discomfort as she dies with cannabis related products. This has been rejected, with the MoH asking for more information and claiming the oncologist hasn’t provided it.

This has been a rapidly evolving story that I haven’t had time to cover properly.

Some links to information as the story unfolds:

Stuff: Former union boss given two months to live – nearly a year ago

“But it doesn’t cure me, it just gives me time … I don’t know what the prognosis is now, but it’s still death and it’s still months.”

Kelly continues to source cannabis illegally while she awaits the outcome of her application to the Ministry of Health for medicinal cannabis.

Currently her application has been deferred while the ministry waits for more information from her oncologist.

But Kelly says she’s been asked to provide things she doesn’t have access to, and the ministry should be stepping up and helping source information.

“Why doesn’t the Ministry of Health have a list, which they’re satisfied meets their criteria? Instead you have all these people Googling away and Skyping American producers trying to work out what they’re saying.

“I’ll try and find the information they want and see whether that goes through and, if it doesn’t, then I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Kelly’s situation is very sad – she’s dying. And it’s also sad that the Ministry of Health is making it hard for her to obtain what she wants legally.

Russell Brown has a good post at Public Address on developments: Helen Kelly’s letter.

There’s some concerning issues but some possible positives:

The good part is that the criteria for applications like Helen’s can be improved without changing the law. They’re not part of the Medicines Act. I think Peter Dunne needs to ensure,  as minister, that the process is fundamentally improved. Because a process so designed as to frustrate all medical cannabis applications will not prevent the use of cannabis in this way.

In the end, we do need to revisit the law – as the Law Commisison and two Parliamentary select committee inquiries have already said. Palliative care is not the only element of medical cannabis policy. But it’s certainly the place we should start, given the growing use of cannabis this way in defiance of the law. When we fail to do this, we impose risk and stress on desperately ill people and their doctors – and we’re saying we don’t care enough to properly regulate for their safety.

But the situation with Kelly is awful.

No one is going to prosecute Helen Kelly for treating her symptoms with cannabis. But what the system currently says is that it can’t and won’t make that safer for her. We need to do better than this. A lot better.

Surely we can do a lot better.

Brown attributes most of the blame on the National caucus and by implication John Key.


Leave a comment


  1. kiwi guy

     /  16th February 2016

    Progressives love drugs because they think its cool and “rebellious”,

    This Kelly drama is an appeal to emotion, the thin end of the wedge and a propaganda exercise – “If you don’t give into the demands of a dying women you are a heartless bigot!”.

    We know Leftists being lazy by nature ( exacerbated by the weed they consume ) and are annoyed at the effort they have to put into phoning around their druggie contacts and arranging a drop off or pick up to get their supply. They want the convenience and safety of buying their drugs at the local Warehouse or Countdown.

    All the usual pro druggie “talking points” will be repeatedly peddled in the Cultural Marxist media eg The Pundit:

    “Drugs are fun! Just like enjoying a glass of wine at dinner.”

    “Drugs are cool! Just look at all the hip edgy rock groups they takes heaps of drugs – its good for their creativity!”

    “Only prudes think drugs are wrong and try to stop us Progressives having a good time.”

    “We promise we will only get high after the kids have gone to bed, and they will never find our stash.”

  2. Blazer

     /  16th February 2016

    Drugs are a great way of sedating the masses,as history proves time and time again.

    • Oliver

       /  16th February 2016

      You right it is. I suppose you could say they don’t want to go soft on cannabis because people would be too sedated to work, therefore the rich will have less people to work in their factories or warehouses.

      These sedated people wouldn’t meet health & safety standards, making them unemployable.

      Which means there will be a demand for workers. The rich will have to pay more to keep non sedated employees. Which means some of the wealth would shift from the rich to the people. The rich would loose some power also as their wealth reduces.

      Also with less people not working there would be a reduction in consumption which means a profit loss to the rich. Taking more power from the elite.

      Is the reason they don’t legalise cannabis because they don’t want equality?

      • alloytoo

         /  16th February 2016

        @ Oliver

        I think what you describe has already happened, given the number of job hopefuls that fail their “Pee test” (some on purpose I suspect.

        • jamie

           /  16th February 2016

          What would be the motivation – obviously not in real life but in the fantasy world in which your comment is based – for someone to deliberately fail a drug test?

          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  16th February 2016

            Happens all the time – there is always a % in this country that don’t want to work you know………better to stay on a benefit, topped up with cashies and/or illegal activities….

  3. Oliver

     /  16th February 2016

    There is plenty of evidence that cannabis is relatively harmless certainly compared to alcohol. Also it has proven pain relief benefits for people with chronic pain. Then there is research that suggests cannabis can treat some cancers. And we have the economic benefits of jobs, growth and reduced police resources. And then we have social benefits less people in prison, court. Less policing etc..

    So the question has to be asked why don’t we legalise?

    Well this is my theory. It’s all about police numbers. If we didn’t have a war on drugs then we couldn’t justify the number of police we currently have. And the government wants to increase the size of the police force not reduce it. Because the government is afraid of the masses. So by having a war on drugs it can justify police budget and it gives the police something to do while they wait for civil unrest. Also it justify search and seizure laws. Also it would hurt pharmacutical companies in the pocket, and the govt has already shown how it will stand up for corporations. It’s neoliberal politics.

    • @ PDB – An interesting article upon skim reading, thanks for posting it.

      Does it consider, “The placebo effect is a pervasive phenomenon; in fact, it is part of the response to any active medical intervention. The placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain’s role in physical health”? – Wiki, link below

      Also, it is hardly an argument for not legalising cannabinoid-based medicines since they already exist – manufacturing them is legal somewhere – and are legal in many other places. Surely, in a way, it becomes a question of the patient’s choice? And what does it matter for a terminal cancer patient? In such a case, isn’t refusal akin to the refusal of Death with Dignity? We could just have the freedom of choice?

      For me personally, as a non-user recreationally with medical requirement, I believe we could be not just be using cannabinoid-based medicines but manufacturing them here as well.

      Inversely (or something) I agree with this from your article, “medical marijuana itself has little evidence to support its use and serves mainly as a politically palatable “foot in the door” for advocates to get their favorite drug legalized, and I say this as someone who thinks that marijuana should be legalized for recreational use”.

      Is it too great a leap to say, “legalized for recreational use” might actually deal automatically with some of the medical requests”?


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