Politics pissing on people over cannabis bills

Parties playing politics are taking precedent over popular public opinion on cannabis laws.

Newsroom: Cannabis bill more politics than policy

National has drawn up its own medicinal cannabis bill, but the real story isn’t the policy, but the politics behind it, Thomas Coughlan reports.

National has released its alternative medicinal cannabis bill, which it says will make cannabis medication products more widely available.

The party also says that the bill adds some much-needed regulatory detail to the Government’s bill, which largely delegated such detail to officials.

But the real story of the day was a political one, with National blindsiding Labour, whose medicinal cannabis bill returned from select committee today.

Surprised Government MPs were unable to comment on National’s bill, which they had only been made aware of after it was reported by Newshub on Wednesday night.

The bill puts pressure on the Government’s support parties, particularly the Greens, whose own medicinal cannabis bill brought by Chlöe Swarbrick was defeated in January.

I don’t think it puts pressure on the Greens. They are the only party to come out of this shemozzle with any credit.

If National’s bill is drawn from the ballot and found to be popular, pressure could mount on the Green party to break ranks with the Government and support it.

The obvious problem with National’s bill is that there is no chance of it getting anywhere in the short term and there’s a low chance of it being drawn in the medium term.

In the House, Bridges accused the Government of not “doing the work” and said National’s detailed bill was evidence of a “Government in waiting”.

But National has been accused of time wasting and petty politicking.

Instead of using the select committee to recommend changes to the legislation, the party opted to draw up its own bill.

Woodhouse said the Government members on the Health select committee were “ambivalent” about National’s proposals, while Bridges said the Government’s bill didn’t even have “the makings of a framework”  to look at the regulations National members demanded.

But Government sources who have seen the bill said the issue was not so much the difference between what the two bills permit, but whether Parliament or officials dictate the regulatory regime.

The Health Select Committee’s Chair, Labour’s Louisa Wall, said the introduction of a new bill on the day the select committee was to release its report undermined the integrity of the select committee process.

Her comments implied it was unlikely Labour would support National’s bill, even if it was found to be an improvement on their own.

Disappointing crap from National and Labour.

With polls showing 80-90% support for decent medical cannabis law the public are getting pissed on by politics and parties.


National replace support for medical cannabis bill with lottery

It was disappointing that Labour wouldn’t get in behind a decent attempt to address hopeless drug laws.

Now National, who voted for the first reading of the Government medical cannabis bill, have decided to pull their support, instead option for their own member’s bill.

Who the hell decided that? Sick and dying people can wait on the chance of a lottery draw?


NZH: National pulls support on medicinal marijuana bill, propose own measure

The National Party will pull its support for a government bill to allow those with terminal conditions to access medicinal marijuana and instead put up its own “more comprehensive” bill on the issue.

The select committee considering the Government’s bill is due to report back on it tomorrow and National had supported it at first reading but said its ongoing support was dependent on what changes were made in select committee.

National leader Simon Bridges said the party had now decided to pull its support for that bill and develop its own measure, which he said would set out a more comprehensive and well researched regime for the use of medicinal cannabis.

“National supports greater access to high quality medicinal cannabis products to ease people’s suffering but we must have the right regulatory and legislative controls in place.

“Among other things, our bill is going to make clear who can buy medicinal cannabis, who can sell it, and exactly how that will work.”

That’s just bollocks Bridges.

And poorly timed with a poll out today showing increased and high public support for something decent to be done.

Now Labour and Greens will be dependent on NZ First to pass a watered down bill.

Extremely disappointing.

And Peters wants to delay things as well by taking cannabis law to a referendum. That’s just about as bad.

We have a Parliament of self interested wimps.

Cannabis bill – bad medicine

The Claytons Medical Cannabis Amendment Bill has been criticised for doing little but blowing smoke in the eyes of those suffering from chronic pain and illness.

The legal defence the Bill will provide for terminally ill people who use cannabis is bizarre. It remains illegal to grow cannabis, and it remains illegal to supply cannabis, so dying people still have to rely on illegal supply, and Minister of Health David Clark is relying on his calls for the police to act with ‘compassion’.

RNZ: Medicinal cannabis bill will send ‘clear signal’ to police

Some medicinal cannabis users say they can see hope but no material changes for them in the government’s proposed legislation.

The Misuse of Drugs amendment Bill tabled yesterday sets up a regulated domestic cannabis industry, makes it easier to access medical marijuana products and lets the terminally ill use illicit cannabis.

Health Minister David Clark said while the law did not allow people to grow cannabis, police were using a “huge amount of discretion” and the government’s legislation sent a strong message that was the right thing to do.

“The police are using discretion currently for personal use, and I expect this will send a clear signal that for the terminally ill it would be completely pointless to be prosecuting them for using it.”

Access to pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis products was “problematic” and in time the legislation would result in greater supply of quality medicinal cannabis, including products made in New Zealand.

“We want to make available products that have good evidence behind them, that doctors feel safe prescribing.

“In the mean time … this makes it clear that there’s a legal defence for people in the final years of their life.”

Did he say ‘final years’? Yes he did, I’ve just listened to it again. His bill only allows a defence in the final year.


Clark seems to be trying to opt out of compassion himself and put that onus on the police.

Mike Moreu, December 22, 2017

This is actually worse than a Clayton’s law – it suggests that dying people would put others at legal risk in seeking cannabis for their own use.

Clark effectively said in the RNZ interview (I’ll do a full transcript when I get time) that his bill relies on the police using discretion and showing compassion – something which they can and do already, usually but not always.

Clark also contradicts himself, saying he will support Chloe Swarbrick’s Members’ Bill, but argues against what that is atempting to allow in respect of his own bill.

There are some promising aspects to the bill, but it is severely flawed when it gives dying people a legal defence but requires illegal acts outside of that for them to get any cannabis to use.

I get it that Labour and the Greens couldn’t get the support of NZ First for what they actually wanted.

They should have been upfront and honest and said they didn’t have the votes to deliver. That is a political reality.

Instead they have put forward a half arsed bill in order to try and be seen to be keeping a promise, but it makes things legally messier, relying on the police not enforcing the law.

The bill is bitter medicine without any cure for a problem they promised to fix.