Medical cannabis regime ‘anything but compassionate’

Prime Minister Bill English has been criticised after he claimed that there is already a compassionate legal route for patients to get medical cannabis products.

It is difficult and slow for most patients trying to obtain medical cannabis products legally, and many resort to breaking the law. Doctors have claimed possibly half of their patients are self medicating with cannabis products.

RadioLive: That’s a ‘no’ to doctors prescribing medical cannabis – Bill English on The AM Show

Fear of creating a ‘marijuana industry’ is stopping Prime Minister Bill English from allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical reasons.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, Mr English said there’s already a “compassionate” and legal route for patients to get cannabis products – if they need them.

“The minister’s just changed the rules so that’s a little bit easier, with the Ministry of Health now approving it instead of each one going to the minister.

“As far as we can see, that’s going to work pretty well and we don’t want to take it any further.”

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ asks English “where is the compassion?”

On Duncan Garner’s Radio show Monday morning, our Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with the current special approvals scheme.

Just 2 days before an Oncologist on the TV3 show “The Nation” suggested that about half his Cancer patients were using Cannabis. It would be safe to assume that none of them were using legal options as they were not cost effective. Sativex contains perhaps $180 dollars equivalent of Raw Cannabis, for the cost of over $1000

MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun:

“Currently perhaps 1 per 100,000 people are accessing Medical Cannabis legally. If a doctor is accepting widespread Cannabis use in his patient population, with no effort put into trying to help them go legal then the patients are at the mercy of police discretion.

“The police have shown no ability to think of the public interest and discretion around Cannabis based offences for patients.

“Just this weekend they seized a Tetraplegic’s Personal Cannabis supply, how does that make the community safer? How does the community feel about that?

”The current system simply isn’t working and is anything but compassionate.

“MCANZ doesn’t advocate for terminal patients, as they generally die before the product is in their hands, as has happened to a toddler last year who died the week he was scheduled to start on Sativex”

Le Brun says that MCANZ would like a domestic market developed for Cannabis based medicines, believing they can be produced to a high standard without the need for expensive clinical trials.

“Cannabis based products are relatively simple, It’s just another Essential Oil.

“The Current regime ensures that only expensive products will be acceptable, and that means patients will continue to break the law with the support of their specialists, and making criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens.”

It drives people who are suffering severely and in some cases dying to break the law. Helen Kelly was a prominent example, being open about illegally using cannabis products as she died of cancer.

The domestic market in Canada is considered by MCANZ to be the closest model to ideal, where products are prescribed by GPs, and the cost per mg of active ingredients are 80% less of what is paid in New Zealand currently.

Many other countries are making medical cannabis far easier and cheaper to get – and legally.

See also:

Newshub: Half of cancer patients using cannabis, say doctors

Dr Falkov says 40 to 60 percent of his patients are using medicinal cannabis, and it may have benefits beyond pain relief.

“Essentially most patients use it firstly because they hope it’ll work and improve their cancer control rates, and that’s a very important thing that’s been missed in this debate about medical cannabis. It may well increase cancer control rates.

“Secondly, they’re using it for pain, and thirdly they’re using it basically for appetite stimulation, and a lot of them are using it for anxiety and nausea and vomiting.

“What I’d really like to see is not widespread legalisation of every form of cannabis, but allowing doctors to actually ask patients about their cannabis use; record what they take; evaluate the effectiveness of various products and actually be allowed to use cannabis in research protocols with cancers that are subject to normal ethical approval; going through ethics committees, and subject to normal clinical trial constraints.

“All I’d like really is for cannabis to be treated like any other medication.”

Stuff: Mother in panic over tetraplegic son’s missing carers

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ: website

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ is a Registered charity, run by a group of passionate, rational like-minded people with a personal stake in the need for Medical Cannabis in New Zealand. Our ambition first and foremost is to “Put Patients before Politics” and help others get access to Medical Cannabis in New Zealand through legal means. Our ambition is to facilitate and promote the re-introduction of Medicinal Cannabis products – as prescription medicines in NZ. We aim to provide a community for patients and their carers, to promote education of both the general public and especially the medical fraternity, and work towards MC products being more widely available, without the stigma attached currently.

 

 

Leave a comment

19 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th April 2017

    Politicians should stay out of medicine.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th April 2017

      And so should police.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  5th April 2017

      so should bureaucrats handle …it..Al?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th April 2017

        Only financing for those unable to fund their own. Doctors should manage the prescribing process in conjunction with the patient.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  5th April 2017

          you forgot the most important player….the big drug coy’s!Bol.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  5th April 2017

            I don’t have a problem with Pharmac negotiating supply nor with the Government controlling excessive patent protection by approving generic alternatives where price extortion exists.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  5th April 2017

              ‘Politicians should stay out of medicine’…pretty typical…’Alspeak’.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  5th April 2017

              What !!!!. The government should not only take your money and spend it how they see fit, but the should also interfere with and legislate against free market forces?
              Are you feeling OK today Al?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  5th April 2017

              AC, the patent rorts are created by collusion between the US Govt and the big pharmacies. I don’t have a problem with using our Government to challenge them when appropriate and helping to free the unfree market.

  2. Griff

     /  5th April 2017

    Fear of creating a ‘marijuana industry’ is stopping Prime Minister Bill English from allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical reasons.

    Hello Mr English

    We already have a cannabis industry.
    Cannabis retails at 20 a gram.
    The problem is the retail industry is dominated by criminals.
    Gangs control most tinny houses using underage youths to front their retail shops..
    They don’t check id or have a age restriction they sell to whoever knocks on the door.
    They also sell harder drugs and stolen goods though their networks established to sell cannabis.The profits they generate from selling cannabis fund their criminal lifestyles.

    Your policy of cannabis being illegal :The war on drugs” amplifys the social cost of cannabis many times.
    A legal and taxed market would allow some of the profits to fund efforts to minimize harm.

    You have recently complained about kiwis not able to pass arbitrary drug tests that do not show impairment.
    What a person does in their own time, provided it has not effect on their employment, is no the business of an employer.

    The world is transiting away from the war on drugs approach to recreational drugs.
    Legalize and treat addiction as a health issue .

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th April 2017

      Sadly very true, Griff.

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  5th April 2017

        Which leaves as far as drug reform is concerned decriminalisation, which can be sold to Bill on the basis of:

        1. It’d score him more votes.
        2. It’d save taxpayer money by unclogging the court system meaning he’ll have money to buy himself even more votes.

        Cannabis is virtually decriminalised here anyway. The way it is now is all it does it takes up judges’ time. I was in court one time when a guy didn’t even get a conviction for possessing a small amount of cannabis – the judge said that being locked in the police cells overnight was punishment enough.

        It’s about time we stopped pretending and made decriminalisation of cannabis official.

        Reply
  3. as Ive said before.. there are already provisions in the MODA 75 (section 8) to allow broader medicinal use.. BUT methinks the eff. ZERO-tolerance approach that NZ police, customs etc. has ‘championed’ for over 40 years, seems to have scared many away & they are avoiding implementing these; ‘exemptions’

    reminds me of something I read, from 1940s USA, when their ‘drug czar’ (H J Anslinger) reportedly, threatened to arrest any doctor who prescribed/supplied ‘Marijuana’. (even though it should therefore be legal, as ‘medical CANNABIS’ in most jurisdictions)

    Reply
    • btw; using the M-word in a medicinal context (IMHO) is just ‘muddying the waters’; ‘Marijuana’ was originally used, to refer to ‘Recreational use’ only ! 😦

      Reply
  4. Pearl Schomburg

     /  5th April 2017

    The laws that uphold the prohibition of cannabis are based on greed, corruption and racism!
    Abolish these laws and if any new laws are required around this non toxic, highly nutritious, medically beneficial plant, then let them be based on science, medical studies and the will of the people.
    Life is more precious than law!
    History will show who the real criminals are 💚

    Reply
  5. Rodger Short

     /  5th April 2017

    Cannabis is traditional medicine and has been for thousands of years. Education is the key starting with our Politician’s, Medical and Law professionals. Not all Cannabis is created equal and the correct ratio of THC/CBD is needed to treat various conditions .I find it ironic that young medical students have to resort to fund raising to educate doctors on the Endocannabinoid system. The system is broken when the public are more informed than the so called professions we pay to serve us.

    Reply
    • It’s insane that the taxpayer needs to stump up for sativex when we can homegrow.

      “Cannabis based products are relatively simple, It’s just another Essential Oil.

      “The Current regime ensures that only expensive products will be acceptable, and that means patients will continue to break the law with the support of their specialists, and making criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens.”

      I though Bill English was an accountant.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s