Greens’ “push for more caring medicinal cannabis law” may be futile

The Green Party say they will support the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which is a largely toothless sop to try and look like the Labour is fulfilling a 100 day promise.

But just prior to this bill being tabled in parliament yesterday the greens showed their lack of confidence in what it does with this press release:

Greens to push for more caring medicinal cannabis law

The Green Party is supporting the Government’s medicinal cannabis legislation introduced to parliament today, but is encouraging the public to use the select committee process to push for improvements to expand the law in relation to New Zealanders suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions who could benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis, but who are excluded from legal protections in the Bill.

So they don’t think the bill is good enough.

“This Bill represents a significant improvement from the status quo and delivers on the promise to legislate for medicinal cannabis. It represents the consensus view across the governing parties,” said Green Party drug law reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick.

It is nonsense to claim it is “a significant improvement from the status quo”. It “delivers on the promise to legislate for medicinal cannabis”, but it is a Claytons’ bill.

“We will vote to improve access to medicinal cannabis, but we are disappointed the Bill does not provide coverage to all people suffering from conditions who could benefit from its use, limiting access to a legal defence to only those with a terminal illness.

“Parliament has the opportunity to improve the Bill through the select committee process and through supporting my Member’s Bill, which offers sick New Zealanders better access to medicinal cannabis pain relief.

“The Green Party has always campaigned for a compassionate approach to medicinal cannabis, and as a partner of the Government we want to see this done right.

“We are encouraging New Zealanders who want to see the Bill widened to include sufferers of chronic pain and other medical conditions to make their voice heard at the select committee. We will support them and keep pushing for a better Bill.

“New Zealanders overwhelmingly support the use of medicinal cannabis for the alleviation of pain, so it’s disappointing the Bill excludes these people. A Curia Research Poll commissioned by the New Zealand Drug Foundation this year showed 78% of New Zealanders support growing and using cannabis for any medical reasons such as to alleviate pain,” said Ms Swarbrick.

The problem is even if people put in an effort to lobby for decent changes through this bill, as encouraged by the Greens, it is a Government bill and unless NZ First agrees with any amendments they are doomed.

A problem with “encouraging the public to use the select committee process to push for improvements to expand the law in relation to New Zealanders suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions who could benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis” is there is little chance of significant change – and that appears likely given the toothless nature of the bill, then Greens may be raising false hopes.

7 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  December 21, 2017

    There’s always an optimistic and a pessimistic way of looking at such things –

    OPTIMISTIC – The Greens are genuinely trying to do what they can under the circumstances of being ‘runt of the litter’ (so to speak). Here’s one available avenue – select committee – by which their supporters and other concerned public might at least gain some ground. Hopefully they’ll be mobilizing their own ‘crew’ and ‘teams’ to make fulsome submissions …

    PESSIMISTIC – Goes without saying … and some Rightie is gonna say it before I post or shortly thereafter anyhow … Why waste my time and energy?

  2. NOEL

     /  December 21, 2017

    This debate reminded me of the Canadian Border program where a guy clean and jerked a big heavy suitcase on to the search bench. When the inspector found leaf in the bag the owner was quick to produce medical documents to allow use for a back pain.

  3. Zedd

     /  December 21, 2017

    Its good to see the Greens have NOT withdrawn their Members Bill. If they are not happy with the outcome of the Govt. bill.. they have another option.. if it passed 1st reading ??

  4. robertguyton

     /  December 21, 2017

    “So they don’t think the bill is good enough.”
    Of course they don’t think it’s good enough, they’re making that very clear. They should still support it though. I hope, as they are hoping, that the Members Bill comes up in a timely manner and is supported across all parties; come on National, make it happen!

    • @RG

      It would be good to get cross-party support; BUT many MPs are too concerned about ‘negative feedback’ even though about 80% in recent polls, say they support Medicinal use (not just Big-pharma DRUGS) :/

      I do think that the Greens bill may still pass ?!

  1. Greens’ “push for more caring medicinal cannabis law” may be futile — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition