HDPA infuriated by medical cannabis debate

Heather du Plessis Allan, like many people, is a tad annoyed about how politicians and parliament are stuffing around on the medical cannabis issue.

NZH: Medicinal marijuana debate continues to infuriate

Doesn’t the medicinal marijuana debate infuriate you? Just the fact we are having the debate. Still.

The first time I felt properly angry about it was when Helen Kelly was still alive. Dying of cancer is probably a better way to describe her situation at the time. Or maybe “illegally procuring weed”.

It infuriated me that she had to break the law to enjoy her final days.

Final days would hardly be enjoyable, but less unenjoyable (legally) would have been good.

She said cannabis was the only thing that took away her pain. It was the only thing that gave her a full night’s sleep. Nothing else could do that. Not even morphine.

So there she was, with a broken back and cancer in her lungs, and she was supposed to suffer. Her final days were supposed to be agonising. Because cannabis is illegal. And rules about plants are more important than a human’s final days with her family.

Well that makes me furious. To this day it still does.

Parliament’s health select committee has just decided that they can’t decide on what to do with the cannabis bill they have just been considering.

And National just proposed an alternative bill. It may well be better than the current bill, but the timing of their announcement was widely seen as political rather than a genuine proposal to solve a problem.

Which means I have precious little time for the games the National Party is playing with medicinal cannabis. And please, every time I say “medicinal cannabis”, feel free to swap that out for “better life quality” if you like.

Last week, the National Party pulled its support from the Coalition Government’s bill to legalise medicinal cannabis. Instead National announced it had drawn up its own bill. A competitor bill.

National said its bill is better. National is right. Its bill is better. It’s far more detailed. It stipulates who can access medicinal cannabis. How they can access medicinal cannabis. What form that medicinal cannabis will be in. Plus, the bill helps more sufferers.

One would have hoped they could have come up with this at the start of the process with the current bill in Parliament.

But, that bill isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s been dropped into Parliament’s Deka-bought biscuit jar. That’s where it will stay for a short time or forever. It’s impossible to predict. It’s what’s called a member’s bill and member’s bills are only occasionally drawn from that jar in a lucky-dip scenario. So, as I said, it might never come out.

Which is excruciating and cruel to sufferers who needed pain relief yesterday. Those who died in agony today. Or will die in agony tomorrow. And the day thereafter, and the day thereafter, and so on until we get lucky and a hand grabs the right piece of paper in that jar.

Playing lotto with people’s quality of life and with their lives is not a winner for National.

And there are aspects of their bill that are worse than Labour’s. I think it would leave smoking cannabis as illegal for dying people.

To be fair, I’d give National a mark of A+ for clever politics. It totally upstaged the Government. It showed how much more experienced its MPs are. It stole the limelight on what should’ve been the Government’s day to feel proud. It even managed to look slightly progressive, which is handy given the party is led by someone so Conservative he makes Muldoon look like a gay pride parader.

But clever politics won’t make anyone’s life better. It’s no pain relief for someone’s dying mum.

It’s just cynical and infuriating. So A+ for playing politics. F for looking after New Zealanders in pain.

National have long been conservative on cannabis – conservative as not wanting to do anything about a shambles of a law in practice.

And they have made a hash of compassionate conservatism.


Leave a comment


  1. Cheryl

     /  29th July 2018

    Is there something I don’t understand about the process? The Greens had a cannabis bill which could have been put through as NZ First/Labour/Greens have a majority in the house. Why is it Nationals fault when they only have 56 seats? I support legalising medicinal cannabis.

    • HDPA is using absurdly emotive language.

      People’s final days are not ‘supposed to be agonising’. This sort of thing does the cause no good at all and is an insult to those caring for cancer patients.

      I take it that she has never heard of palliative care and Hospice, which can provide care in people’s homes.

      My husband died of cancer, with the secondary cancer in his lungs, He was not in pain at any time, even at the end.

      I am in favour of legalising cannabis, but HPPA’s diatribe is extremely ignorant and unhelpful.

    • Zedd

       /  29th July 2018

      ‘Why is it Nationals fault when they only have 56 seats? ‘ sez Cheryl

      .. because had they ‘crossed the floor’ & voted FOR the Greens bill, even without NZF & 8 Lab. MPs (who also voted ‘NO’) the Green bill would have passed 1st reading & gone to select committee. I hear that the ‘new bill from Natl’ has many of the same provisions as the Green bill (Chloe S/JAG) that they voted against ?!

      Looks like they are actually driving another agenda.. :/

  2. Cannabis prohibition is a stupid waste of police, court and taxpayer resources on something that is far safer to consume than tobacco or alcoholic beverages.

    In the USA 9 states have fully legalized recreational cannabis including: Washington, Maine, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska plus Washington DC.

    30 states and counting have legalized “medical” cannabis! Cannabis prohibition wrongfully persecutes and criminalizes cannabis consumers for selecting a recreational substance that is safer than alcoholic beverages or tobacco products!

    Celebrate democracy at work with FREE states ending government corruption! Citizens demanding the return of their rights and their freedom!

    Data from the Center for Disease Control proves that cannabis is safer than alcoholic beverages and tobacco products which are completely legal. Based on that fact alone CANNABIS SHOULD BE COMPLETELY LEGAL.

    The Madness is over, Legalize Recreational Cannabis Nationwide!

  3. PartisanZ

     /  29th July 2018

    NZFirst en mass and some Labour MPs, along with National en mass, wouldn’t support the Greens Bill, which would have made fine legislation with some minor changes = NZF, Labour at fault …

    National have pulled support for Labour’s ‘Claytons’ legislation … which, with the help of the Greens, could have been altered at committee stage to more-or-less match the Greens Bill = fault shifts to National …

    National then announce own Private Members Lottery Bill which happens to be much like the Greens Bill they wouldn’t support = National Double Fault …

    Yep, its an A+ for Politics …. and an F- minus almighty fucking fail for democratic representation!

    But nah … It’s a great system …

    • Gezza

       /  29th July 2018

      (en masse … just saying, no thanks required)

      • Gezza

         /  29th July 2018

        PS: Maybe not so much something wrong with the system. More of a case of something wrong with the god awful people we elect. So something wrong with voters.

        • PartisanZ

           /  29th July 2018

          PSS: Maybe any system throws up the type of candidates most aligned with and or suitable for that system?

          That system and those candidates in turn create or manifest a certain type of voter …?

          Whether the candidates and/or voters are “god awful people” is another matter.

          We voters are certainly extensively habituated and duped IMHO … e.g. to the semblance or hologram of a sensationalized, polarized, combative system wherein the two foes or ‘Parties’ are much more alike than different …

          • Gezza

             /  29th July 2018

            (PPS: … just saying, no thanks required)

            Well I don’t disagree with what you say about the current producing political parties that are probably more alike than different, shooting for the centre.

            But to a large extent, the more I think about it, the more I think MMP has actually exacerbated this trend as parties which, I once assumed, would hold fast to their policy & principles – for the benefit of, & to keep the faith with – their loyal supporters & subjects – have shown themselves to be not only capable of defenestrating those at the drop of a hat, but of, next time, simply pinching another competitor party’s policies & adding them to their own grab bag – to try & broaden their own appeal & steal away the other parties’ voters directly via such shameless plagiarism.

            If we had better parties – parties who held fast to their principles & didn’t promise the world with a collection of cheap lollies for credulous kiddies in their first 100 days – so that changes happened slowly & more carefully – and only when sensibly worked out and negotiated AT THE TIME – or their coalition partners would simply NOT support them – we might be better off.

            Our problem is that we have shit parties.

            I realise the system is not suitable for square pegs in round holes whose talents are not being recognised & rewarded at the level they think they should, however.

            How do you think we could effect a change to something better?

  4. David

     /  29th July 2018

    The striking thing is that National have put together a much better bill than a government with all the resources it has and it was a policy they took to the election.
    That the media and others are taking National to task goes to show the odd situation where the opposition is getting grief for not sorting out the governments incompetence. Expectations are so low of Labour no one is grilling them for putting a stupid bill that wont work.

    • PartisanZ

       /  29th July 2018

      The Opposition could easily have sorted out the government’s incompetence at Select Committee level – with the help of Labour’s own coalition partner The Greens – and greatly improved the Bill …

      Hence the decision to put up a PM’s Lottery Bill must be more about publicity than the details of the legislation …

      However I admit that Labour would probably have resisted both Green and Opposition input to such an extent … more the fucken fools them …

  5. Zedd

     /  29th July 2018

    I still maintain it is just politicking from Natl.. IF they truly have a ‘new found’ support for med-cannabis, then surely they would work with the Govt. to improve the current bill ? Their bill.. could sit in the ballot tin for months/years before it maybe drawn.. meanwhile Lab/NZF/Grns get on with it

    They voted against he Greens bill, which would have provided much broader access.. WTF.. ‘enuf sed’ 😦

    • David

       /  29th July 2018

      They cant work with the government on it because NZ First are vetoing it and preventing Labour from working with the Greens to advance their campaign promise.
      Winston is in charge and calling the shots on this one, much like his veto on ending 3 strikes, much like his Waka jumping bill, the lefties should be apoplectic with this National Lite government.

      • PartisanZ

         /  29th July 2018

        You make a very good point there David …

        However, even unencumbered by NZFirst, I don’t think Labour-led would have been anything much other than National Lite …

        Labour was always gonna have to pussyfoot with cannabis law reform, for fear of losing middle-class voters, whereas the Greens could romp ahead reformatively** …

        It’s really a matter of who ultimately calls the shots …?

        How many of the business leaders, bankers, consultants, lobbyists. Think-Tank sophistocrats* and Heads of Charitocracy who Labour-led must deal with daily are Labour/Democratic Socialist ideologues do you think?

        You could count them on one hand I reckon …

        * # 166 ** possibly # 167

  6. patupaiarehe

     /  29th July 2018

    This whole so called debate only shows how out of touch our so called representatives are with the real world.

    • PartisanZ

       /  29th July 2018

      Worse patupaiarehe: How out of touch our so-called representatives are with us, whom they theoretically represent …

      They make their own “real world” …

      • Gezza

         /  29th July 2018

        Too many of them just make money – and that IS their real world.


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