Medical cannabis: Terminal vs Severe and Debilitating?

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ wants the Government’s medical cannabis bill to be expanded to cover people suffering from ‘severe and debilitating’ illness. It currently only allows an exemption from prosecution for using cannabis for people certified to have less than a year to live (but growing is still illegal, as is the supplying of cannabis to them).


Terminal vs Severe and Debilitating?

The exemptions outlined for the terminally ill by Labour’s Medical Cannabis bill do not go far enough, and have been universally panned by patient advocates and policy experts.

MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun:

“David Clark’s excuse for failing to deliver on Labour’s election promise is that there is a high portion of New Zealanders with chronic pain, many of those however would not be severe such as those who suffer from comparatively mild conditions such as osteoarthritis”.

“The Ministry of Health’s Non-pharmaceutical application guidelines have a terminology of  “severe or debilitating condition” using that definition instead of terminal would be a far more effective way of protecting patients. If such terminology is good enough for prescribers it should be good enough for police and the courts.”

“If such a change creates any extra administrative load for the courts to determine ‘severe or debilitating’ it would be short term only, as police would be on the receiving end of an attitude adjustment, the cost in administration pales into comparison against the significance of what it offers a very ill and vulnerable cohort of New Zealanders”

MCANZ Feels that the best solution to the criminalization of patients is to disrupt police prosecution
habits directly, before they get to court.

“The Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines could be easily reviewed and updated to include a specific clause in the public interest test section. Such a clause counting against prosecution could be worded along the lines of ‘where the Misuse of Drugs Act has been breached for a significant therapeutic benefit”.

“Intervention before prosecution is critical to the safety and wellbeing of patients, most of whom are on benefits who can ill afford costly legal battles, and the seizure of what for many is an essential medicine”.

MCANZ Spokesperson Dr Huhana Hickey MNZM”

“The contradictions in allowing terminally ill to access but not providing them with a way of doing it, is as bad as denying all with pain the chance of taking a medicine that works. We need to educate society over the benefits of medicinal and how it can change lives.”

“To deny Medical Cannabis any longer is to show a disregard for people in chronic pain and who are in effect suffering at the hands of government policy. Change it now, it’s need not be complex, it can be simple, but they need to work with those of us who can no longer take opioids and other strong drugs who want our quality of life back.”

4 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  January 17, 2018

    Thus begins the next phase of inter-generational protest, activism, continuous political lobbying and some legal action against unjust and frankly stupifyingly idiotic laws related to cannabis …

    Generations more young people, folks seeking relief from illness and pain of all types, many being so-called ‘recreational’ users, are prosecuted, do community service and go to prison – keeping up the public-private prison quotas – while a few ‘terminally-ill’ in their last year of life are allowed to use cannabis but only if they can obtain it …

    … their own government makes this a VERY BIG ‘IF’ … until extremely expensive forms of pharmaceutical cannabis reach the pharmo-medical market …

    From time to time the issue rears its head again, until finally, in the year 2050, the government of the Republic of Aotearoa New Zealand – considered one of the most socially retrograde nations on Earth – realizes people are migrating to other parts of the world – almost all countries of whom have come to their senses decades ago – specifically to access cannabis …

  2. Pickled Possum

     /  January 17, 2018

    Kiwis are taking prescription opioid painkillers in record quantities, risking dangerous addictions

    Denise Stephen saw the devastating effects of opioid abuse first-hand. In 2008, her 19-year-old daughter Freya died after becoming addicted to Oxycodone. It was an addiction that she battled in secret.

    ​”She just turned into a train wreck,” Stephen said. “It put her onto a path that ended up in her death. I had no idea that my clever, beautiful, brilliant girl was a drug seeker.”
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/94441562
    RIP Freya

    “The only difference between the heroin on the street and the heroin in the bottle is one is legal and the other is illegal, but it’s exactly the same drug,” said former heroin addict Rena Owen”

    Opiates include opium, heroin, morphine, methadone, codeine and pethidine. The use of heroin is relatively low in New Zealand. Instead, much of New Zealand opiate use is derived from morphine sulphate tablets, methadone and other opioid pharmaceuticals.

    How Many if Any chronic pain suffers died as a direct result of inhaling cannabis.

    The question needs to be answered by the shakers and movers of the antiquated law that calls a person with severe pain using cannabis, a criminal.

    People in pain who self medicate with the best safest analgesic in modern history,
    are filling up our jails. Who do they hurt when they inhale to relieve pain.

    This BS from the government is stalling in the most insidious manner.
    Why can’t my end of life be pain free.
    Why have I No choice between illicit and licit
    Secrecy and paranoia are these the emotions I must deal with as well as debilitating pain.

    • Griff

       /  January 17, 2018

      “How Many if Any chronic pain suffers died as a direct result of inhaling cannabis.

      The question needs to be answered by the shakers and movers of the antiquated law that calls a person with severe pain using cannabis, a criminal. ”

      Wrong question?

      Why do you ban a substance just because it gets you “high” alters your reality?

      There are no other supportable theory’s for why cannabis is banned.
      It is less harmful than over the counter general pain killers like ibuprofen and paracetamol.
      The other common drug used to alter your existence results in risk taking and violence.

      • Zedd

         /  January 17, 2018

        Also Heroin gets you ‘high’ but it IS legally/medicinally available as Morphine, so this argument, that is often put about by ‘naysayers’.. frankly does not stack up.
        I have heard the main reason that ‘Big Pharma’ & others do not want to allow Cannabis, is because you cant easily turn it into a ‘little while pill’ form, guaranteed to CURE all ills OR you cant put it in a hypodermic needle & inject it either.
        This is why some of us, prefer to call it ‘Therapeutic’ (relief of symptons) rather than Medicinal (fully curative) cannabis
        They are also likely concerned that ‘patients can grown their own’ (with no profit to Big Pharma) 😦

        Keep up the good work Shane & Co. (MCANZ).. the WAR is definitely looking; tired & outdated now !!