Responses to Medical Cannabis Amendment Bill

The Medicinal Cannabis Amendment Act tabled in Parliament yesterday makes little practical difference to being able to use cannabis – it’s changes are limited to people with terminal illnesses (less than 12 months to live), and they can’t grow cannabis or obtain it legally unless they pay a large amount for very limited products available by prescription.’

Flick back to August: ‘Absolutely yes’: Jacinda Ardern succinct and stubborn on medicinal cannabis use

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has very firmly locked in her position on medicinal use of cannabis, a succinct answer in a debate strongly paralleled by National leader Bill English.

In the TVNZ leaders debate, both were asked to answer in 30 seconds whether they would legalise cannabis for medicinal use, for pain relief or extending life.

Ardern: “I don’t need 30 seconds, Mike, the answer is absolutely yes.”

Ardern has failed to deliver.

They can use it now – and hope the police won’t prosecute them. That’s about all Clark could offer with the Government bill.

RNZ: Medicinal cannabis users disappointed at legislation

Pearl Schomburg has been using cannabis to manage her pain for the past two years.

She suffers from inflammatory pain, PTSD and nausea, but access to her chosen medicine won’t be any easier under the planned law change.

“There’s nothing in it for me today except hope that this is just the beginning.

“There’s a lot of disappointed people in the community, some of them are quite angry as well because they feel like they’ve been quite let down by Jacinda [Ardern].

“I’m a glass half full person and I see this as the first step in the real fight.”

Health Minister David Clark said in time the legislation would result in greater supply of quality medicinal cannabis, including products made in New Zealand.

When the new scheme is operational, patients with a prescription will be able to access medicinal cannabis at a pharmacy.

But Auckland woman Joan Cowie, who has stage four lung cancer, doesn’t have time to wait for that to come into effect.

“They’re saying on the news you can go to the pharmacy and get your products there.

“Well that’s a good two years away. I probably won’t be here in two years.”

Ms Cowie said the bill didn’t help people who weren’t interested in pharmaceutical cannabis, including herself.

She said she preferred the organic product and couldn’t afford to buy pharmaceutical cannabis.

Ms Schomburg said many users felt politicians were not taking their pain seriously.

“I and many other people cannot afford pharmaceuticals so shall we just sit here and wait for five years until the prices drop, and then are we allowed compassion?

“That just seems ludicrous to me.”

She said future legislation should focus on patients, not pharmaceuticals, and provide immediate, affordable access to high quality organic cannabis.

Newshub:  Doctors divided on medicinal cannabis

Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners president Dr Tim Malloy says many doctors have patients who want to try medicinal cannabis.

“In that we want to do the best for our patients, we would like to look at those opportunities, provided there was the appropriate framework to offer that.”

He says the subject has divided those in the medical field.

“I think you’ll find that there is quite a variation in opinion around on the matter across the country. A lot of that’s to do with the perceived or otherwise lack of evidence around medicinal cannabis.”

Medicinal cannabis is already available on prescription in New Zealand. However, experts like Dr John Alchin from the University of Otago say there’s little or no evidence it works.

“It’s not a silver bullet, we all wish there was a silver bullet for chronic pain,” says Dr Alchin.

“Most patients with chronic pain, we have no effective treatment for.”

While cannabis may not reduce pain, it could have other effects.

“If people have high expectations, there’s a placebo effect that comes in and a lot of people respond to a placebo,” he says.

“Especially with THC, it has a euphoric effect, so people may feel better.”

Odd comments. If people with chronic pain feel better after using THC then surely that makes it effective? That’s why they use it.

People with chronic pain, mental illness and chronic and serious non-terminal illness currently use alcohol to mask pain, and this can have more serious adverse effects than using cannabis.

Clark struggled to explain the toothlessness of his bill on RNZ this morning, but said he would vote for Chloe Swabrick’s bill that would actually promote actual change.

Ardern has also said she would vote for Swarbrick’s bill – it will be a conscience vote.




  1. Ray

     /  December 21, 2017

    Ok it is early days, though it was Labour who have been trumpeting the 100 days time of change.
    But is this Labour lead Government all blow and no show?
    Hopefully not but on present trends a big lift in their game is required.
    Don’t know what will happen if there is a downturn or another major earthquake but I suspect the talk won’t cut the mustard.

    • Blazer

       /  December 21, 2017

      Same solution Ray. .borrow and bail out the banks and insurance. ..companies.

  2. NOEL

     /  December 21, 2017

    Aw come on lets get to the core. It’s really about leaf or oil. Stop the sham and admit that for many commentators its about legally cultivating for personal use not alleivating chronic pain.

    • Kevin

       /  December 21, 2017

      I don’t have to admit anything. I openly believe all illicit drugs should be legalised and regulated with different regulations for each different drug eg you might allow the sale and use of MDMA only at licensed “Raves”, allow the use of heroin only at licensed premises where medical staff are available, sale and use of cannabis only at home or at “Coffee shops” etc.

      That way you create a legal market which provides users with a much less harmful product than the illegal market and at the same time takes market share away.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 21, 2017

      You’re damn right in my case NOEL …

      All the f*#ken Righties who would take up arms to preserve our ‘personal freedoms’ – and regularly do so in wars they create over resources and markets – yet the same hyprocritical f*@ks are going to deny me the freedom, and would forcibly prevent me smoking an easily home cultivatable plant … and a commercially cultivatable, regulate-able and taxable medicinal and so-called “recreational” herb …

      F*#K that for a joke!

      The “sham” we should stop perpetuating and/or avoiding is that there is some kind of clear, perceptible and distinct difference between physical pain and psychological/emotional pain …

      Life is fucken painful for many people spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically … if not existentially … the alleviation of which is what ‘recreation’ is actually all about …

  3. Kevin

     /  December 21, 2017

    The whole terminally ill patient thing is just a distraction. What the bill is about is allowing the local manufacturing of CBD-based products, Hence I was right. All the government is doing is legalising cannabis-derived products, and not the leaf – which is what would have happened under National anyway.

    So good news I suppose for people on Sativex. In a couple of years or so you’ll be able to get something cheaper that does the same thing.

    But bad news for those that thought the new government would actually legalise medical strains of cannabis leaf.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 21, 2017

      “You’re dealing with Big Pharma here … they don’t like to be crossed”

      There’s also the State-Farm ‘human threshing machine’ of Police, Judiciary & Prisons to consider – the ‘Crime & Punishment’ money-go-round … and worse, the ‘Hiding Place’ for people who’s behaviour shows-up the deficiencies in the system …

      • Kevin

         /  December 21, 2017

        Personally I think it’s more to do with a chickenshit government.

        • PartisanZ

           /  December 21, 2017

          A chickenshit government is the only sort of government that can keep such a system running … that can make ‘cultural insanity’ somehow appear ‘normal’ …

  4. “Odd comments. If people with chronic pain feel better after using THC then surely that makes it effective? That’s why they use it.”
    Odd comments. If people with chronic pain feel better after using homeopathics then surely that makes it effective? That’s why they use them


    • PartisanZ

       /  December 21, 2017

      No Robert, the descendants of people whose names are inscribed on war memorial monuments all over New Zealand … who died to preserve our freedom … are merely exercising it.

      They’re exercising a freedom which presumably includes the freedom of SOME – a largely self-selected few – to delude, indoctrinate, regulate, constrain and forfeit the personal freedom of the remaining entire population … in matters where there is no victim and no crime … and to only consider removing these shackles if there’s sufficient ‘scientific evidence’ to convince them to do so …

      Using something because it works for you is the modern equivalent of witchcraft.

      • artcroft

         /  December 21, 2017

        “They’re exercising a freedom which presumably includes the freedom of SOME – a largely self-selected few – to delude, indoctrinate, regulate, constrain and forfeit the personal freedom of the remaining entire population”

        Can you advise where I have to go and what forms I have to fill out to “self-select” myself into this group. I assume it pays well and I need the money.

      • robertguyton

         /  December 21, 2017

        PartizanZ, I agree with what you have written, especially your last line. My previous comment may have mislead you into thinking otherwise.

  5. Zedd

     /  December 21, 2017

    One thing that is sadly lacking in this debate is rational thought; It is constantly clouded by fear-mongering & misinformation, from those who are only interested in the status quo (self interest).. I call them ‘The Prohibition Industry’: Police, Courts, Prisons, black-market gangs etc. Who rely on this for their ‘job protection’
    The other thing is all the B-S about ‘Its just an excuse to ‘Legalise Weed’ for getting high’

    Its clear that many folks are totally unaware that prior to the early 20th Century Cannabis was widely used for all its potential uses: Hemp, Medincinal/therapeutic & recreation.

    Heres a few things to look up:

    1) Mother Mary Aubert.. ‘Patron Saiint of..’ passed in 1926

    2) Dangerous Drugs Act 1927 (1st cannabis control in NZ ?)

    3) Marihuana Tax Act 1937 (Harry Anslinger USA 1st ‘Drug Czar’)

    4) Single UN Convention on ‘Narcotic Drugs’ 1961

    5) Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (all encompassing/eff. Zero-tolerance)

    There are already clear provisions in the law to allow medicinal use, but they have been buried in all the irrational hysteria around ‘Marijuana’ & ‘Reefer Madness’ that still echo in the media & certain factions of politics !

    Anything has to be better than ‘Status quo’ (IMHO) & I applaud this Govt. for at least attempting to broaden the debate & Med-use

    • david in aus

       /  December 21, 2017

      Two thing missing from your post is logic and rational thought.

      The proposed legislations treats ‘medicinal cannabis’ as a medicine.
      The people disappointed, wanted recreational use decriminalised. Medicinal use, by the way of growing your own, does seem contradictory.
      Like saying, I use opioid pain-killers and I want to grow my own beause it is more natural. It has been around for centuries. No one is saying that.
      The people using ‘medicinal cannabis’ as a Trojan horse for wider legalisation are disappointed because that wasn’t their real goal.

      But if medicinal uses were their goal, using the imagery of the sick and infirm, they should be happy, chilled and melloooooooow.

      • Kevin

         /  December 21, 2017

        And cannabis should be illegal because?

        Hey, if an adult wants to be able to smoke or vape cannabis leaf with a high CDB to THC ratio give me one good reason why they can’t.

  6. Rod

     /  December 21, 2017

    A law controlled by alcoholics it seems.

    • Kevin

       /  December 22, 2017

      Imagine if alcohol ever came up for scheduling.

      At least a moderate risk of harm to the individual if misused – check.
      At least a moderate risk of harm to society if misused – check.

      That would make alcohol at least a class C drug.

      • Zedd

         /  December 22, 2017


        Dr in UK, came up with a list that had Alcohol equiv. Class B (similar to LSD etc.)
        Tobacco, equiv. Class A (most addictive & harmful.. like Heroin)

        Cannabis is Class C (least addictive/harmful) ! 🙂

  7. “what’s from the earth is of the greatest worth, so before you knock it, try it first. You’ll see it’s a blessing and not a curse” – Benjamin Chase Harper. I suffer from long term chronic pain and have done for two years, my GP has me on a strong amount of morphine and I hate the side effects but having tried literally every other medicine, morphine is the more effective at relieving my pain. However the use of Cannabis which I’ve tried a few times now, not only alleviates the pain, but takes care of three more of my problems: it allows me to have normal, quality sleep and stops my insomnia, it is an effective muscle relaxant and it gives me back my appetite which is lost as a side effect of other meds that i’m prescribed. I regard cannabis as quite literally MIRACULOUS. The only side effects it has are positive ones and it is not synthetic. The biggest problem I face is the procurement of it. I don’t want to break any laws but I don’t want to be in pain even more. I want to be off the morphine and not reliant on pills that lock me up like a safe, make me feel sick and knock me around so much that I vomit. Greenery is the way forward and I respect that it’s not agreeable to everyone, but for the majority of people who try it – it works too well to ignore.