Cannabidiol (CBD) can now be prescribed by doctors

A small but important step towards making it easier to access the medicinal cannabis extract cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-hallucinogenic extract and believed to be beneficial for a number of ailments and for pain relief.

There are very few products available in New Zealand, but was they become available the way is clear for doctors to prescribe them. Currently approval has to be sought through the Ministry of Health.

Australia has already dome something similar so it will allow New Zealand to access the same CBD based drugs that become available in Australia.

Peter Dunne has driven this, getting the approval of the National dominated Cabinet.

Beehive notice:


Government to ease restrictions on Cannabidiol

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says New Zealand is to remove restrictions around cannabidiol (CBD), in line with international developments.

CBD is a substance found in cannabis that has potential therapeutic value. It has little or no psychoactive properties, yet it is currently a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

“At present CBD products for therapeutic use are only available if approval is given by the Ministry of Health.

“I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change.  Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly.

“In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine.

“Australia has already taken a similar step while other countries are also responding to emerging evidence that CBD has a low risk of harm when used therapeutically.

“This change is about future-proofing access to CBD products, as the reality is that there will continue to be barriers beyond New Zealand’s control to people accessing such products from overseas,” says Mr Dunne.

Currently there is a limited range of CBD products made to a standard where prescribers can be sure the products contains what is claimed – and strict import and export restrictions on products sourced from other countries, which will continue to impact the supply of CBD products in New Zealand.

“However, we do know of at least one CBD product in development made to high manufacturing standards that will contain two per cent or less of the other cannabinoids found in cannabis,” said Mr Dunne.

The changes will include removing requirements for:

  • Ministerial approval to prescribe;
  • pharmacies, prescribers, and wholesalers to have an import licence, and to meet certain requirements for storage, and the maintaining of controlled drug records and stock keeping.

Prescriptions would be allowed for up to three months’ supply, rather than one month. These measures can be achieved by amending the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977 in the first instance, pending any future amendment of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Legal challenge of MoH on medical cannabis

A post by Russell Brown at Public Address asks Is the Ministry of Health acting outside the law on medical cannabis?

The key barrier to the use of medical cannabis – or to even discovering what its uses might be – has long been marijuana’s illegality under the Misuse of Drugs Act. But what if it transpired that a key component of cannabis is not, and has never been, controlled by the act? And that heavy restrictions on its use and importation are in fact taking place outside the law?

…it’s the subject of an intended legal challenge notified by Nelson lawyer Sue Grey.

From a letter from Grey to Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne outlines her claim.

NOTICE OF INTENDED LEGAL CHALLENGE RE STATUS OF CANNABIDIOL “CBD” UNDER THE MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT

I write on behalf of various interests who seek urgent clarification of the legal status of Cannabidiol “CBD” under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

In summary:

  1. CBD is not explicitly scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
  2. CBD does not meet the statutory criteria under Section 3A for scheduling under the Misuse of Drugs Act1 as there is no evidence that it poses a very high, high or moderate risk of harm to individuals or to society.
  3. Information obtained under the Official Information Act and from the Ministry of Health website identify a significant disagreement within the New Zealand government officials over the status of CBD under the Misuse of Drugs Act.!!Some from the Ministry of Health claim CBD is indirectly covered by Schedule 2 (1)(2)2 as a Class B drug based on their assessment that it is “an isomer of tetraDhydrocannabinols” (THC). In contrast, the government’s leading expert analytical chemist, Dr Keith Bedford and his expert team at Crown Research Institute Environmental Science and Research, “ESR”, have published a paper explaining why THC is not within this definition, because CBD has a different chemical formula, structure and function to THC and accordingly it is not caught within the definition of “an isomer within the same chemical designation”
  4. Dr Bedford’s expert view has been made clear to the Ministry of Health and to his colleagues on the government’s Expert Advisory Drug Committee (“the EADC”). The minutes of the EADC’s April 2016 identify no scientific or legal reason why Dr Bedford’s view is wrong. It appears the different views relate solely to policy consideration and perhaps vested interests, although it remains unclear to me why some members of the committee would prefer to continue to treat CBD as if it is illegal. Clearly government policy cannot override the law that was written by Parliament, and in particular s3A of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Grey also claims.

  • Medicines containing CBD are (in my view unlawfully) treated as if Ministerial approval is required under Regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, resulting in considerable bureaucratic hoops and hurdles, delay in access and unnecessary cost for patients who are typically already very ill, and their families who are typically already very stressed.
  • The complex situation is compounded by the apparent policy of Medsafe (disclosed in documents obtained under the Official Information Act) to attempt to prohibit foods or other products which contain CBD from being sold as foods or dietary supplements, apparently because CBD is also scheduled under the Medicines Regulations. I can find no lawful basis for this policy and do not understand how Medsafe can reconcile this with the law or with the FSANZ proposal to approve the sale of hemp seed foods for human use.
  • I understand from other Official Information Act responses and from recent coverage on TV3’s Story (on the use of CBD as a supplement for managing Alzheimers by Mr Robinson, father of Nicky Evans) and other documentation that I have been shown, that NZ Customs have been instructed to seize products that contain CBD at the NZ border. This is despite the expert advice to the Ministry of Health that CBD has no known harmful effects to individuals or society and it is outside the scope of the Misuse of Drugs Act schedules.
  • The current policy of Ministry of Health, and adopted by NZ Customs to treat CBD as if it is covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act to try to justify the seizure of products which contain CBD, is in my view unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified as CBD is not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Grey asks for the Court to make declarations on:

A) CBD is not explicitly prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs Act

B) CBD has a different chemical formula and different structure and function to THC and accordingly it is not restricted as “an isomer within the same chemical designation as tetrahydrocannabinols”and is not covered by Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act ;

C) CBD does not meet the criteria of section 3A for classification under the!! Misuse of Drugs Act, as it does not cause a very high, high or moderate risk of individual or social harm;

D) Products containing CBD do not require Ministerial approval to be prescribed or recommended under Regulation 22(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act because CBD is not subject to that Act.!!Regulation 22(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act does not apply or is being unlawfully applied to medicines and other products containing CBD

E) The actions of NZ Customs in seizing or restricting access into or out of New Zealand of products because they contain or may contain CBD is unlawful.

It will be very interesting to see how the Court deals with this, if it has to go that far. Brown posts:

Grey has received a response from Customs minister Nicky Wagner, explaining that Customs – which has been seizing medical CBD products at the border –  is guided by the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is that “CBD is a class B1 controlled drug as it is an isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol. Customs has acted on that basis.”

“How long do we have to wait? We’ve got people who are sick now,” Grey said. “They don’t want to have to wait another six months or two years for the advisory committee to align itself with what the law already says.

“I’m still hoping that the Minister of Health will get some control over his officials and ask what are you guys doing, why don’t we just listen to what the experts are saying and accept that it’s not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act and it doesn’t need to be? Then we won’t need to go to court. But if they don’t come to that conclusion fairly quickly, then we will file in court.”

 

 

Serious building problems in Wellington

It seems surprising how much earthquake damage has occurred in Wellington. The closest quake was a modest 5.3 and the capital is a distance from all the quakes near Seddon most of the way  across the Cook Strait.

There has been quite a bit of minor damage to many buildings. And it is emerging that there’s more than minor damage to some large buildings.

It has been revealed that at least one of the reasons why the Statistics building can’t be re-entered by staff for at least a year is due to a partial floor collapse – one report called it pancaking.

1 News: How tragic could it have been had people been at work? Ceiling at Stats NZ building collapsed during quake

Chief executive Liz MacPherson said it appeared Statistics House, located on CentrePort land on the Wellington waterfront, suffered structural damage to “one corner of the building, down the stadium end, partially affecting two floors”.

She said in a Facebook message to staff that engineers had told her it could be anywhere from several months up to a year before staff could return to the building.

“Now it goes without saying that I am asking the same questions that I am sure you are asking, ‘how is it a building that is as new as Stats House, with the code rating that it had, could suffer this sort of damage’,” she said. “I will continue asking those questions.”

Building owner CentrePort said Statistics House will require more extensive inspections to accurately assess the damage.

Chief executive Derek Nind said two concrete beams had become separated from the building’s exterior wall with part of the ground and first floor ceilings dislodging.

And now another building has been cordoned off with apparent fears of falling glass, but also claims the lift block section is separating from the rest of this building:

wellingtonbuildingliftwell

 

Newshub: Wellington street cordoned off over building fears

There are fears a building is about to collapse in central Wellington.

Nearby buildings have been evacuated and engineers say there is a chance the former Deloitte building could collapse.

The building is on Molesworth Street near Parliament and emergency services have closed off the road.

Buildings in the vicinity that have been evacuated include the Thai Embassy, Rugby NZ House, Red Cross and ANZ.

This on it’s own is concerning enough.

But there should be questions asked about how badly Wellington has been affected by these earthquakes.

Remember, a 5.3 earthquake, with a number of shakes from across the Strait of up to 5.8.

But also remember that in 1855 there was a massive 8+ quake in Wellington.

Historical earthquakes in the Wellington region

The Wellington region has been subject to a number of large earthquakes in the past 175 years. New Zealand’s largest ever earthquake was the magnitude 8.2–8.3 quake that struck on 23 January 1855.  The earthquake caused damage to the city including uplift of the harbour, a tsunami in the Wellington harbour and numerous landslides around the region.  In 1942 the Wairarapa was shaken by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on 24 June and then a 7.0 on 2 August, both caused extensive local damage. 

http://www.getprepared.org.nz/hazards/earthquake

There should be serious concern about the damage this week from far smaller quakes, but even more concern about future risks.

Dunne approves medicinal cannabis for teen in coma

Just breaking –

Assoc Health Minister Peter Dunne has approved cannabidiol (medicinal cannabis) for Alex Renton

Good news for Alex and his family.

Minister approves one-off use of Cannabidiol product

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

9 June 2015

Minister approves one-off use of Cannabidiol product ‘Elixinol’

Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne has today approved on compassionate grounds the one-off use of Elixinol, a cannabidiol (CBD) product from the United States to be administered by clinicians treating Wellington patient Alex Renton.

The Minister said that “despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of CBD in patients with Mr Renton’s condition status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton’s individual case”.

“I have considerable sympathy for the family of Mr Renton who face an incredibly difficult situation. Understandably they want to do the best for their son, and they believe that this option is worth trying.

“I have also considered the absence of any other treatment options, the low risk of significant adverse effects, and the conclusion reached by the hospital ethics committee from an individual patient perspective.

“Ministerial approval in this case does not extend beyond Mr Renton’s application and should in no way be construed as setting a wider precedent,” he said.

Mr Dunne said the advice he has received was that there remains a lack of clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD products in sufferers of Mr Renton’s condition.

“The fact that Elixinol does not have a supporting pharmaceutical testing regime means this application has been reviewed as a stand-alone case and weighed against the severity of his condition.

“My officials will be closely following the outcome of studies overseas, including those due to commence next year in Australia, on the efficacy of different products. Those results will help to inform future legislative and regulatory considerations here in New Zealand.

“I am satisfied with the way the DHB and the Ministry have handled this matter. After exhausting all recommended and standard treatment options, CCDHB made a clinical decision last week to complete the necessary documentation to apply for approval to use a non-standard medicinal cannabidiol treatment for Mr Renton. That application was lodged with the Ministry yesterday afternoon. Ministry officials considered the application as a matter of priority and briefed me this morning.

“I hope for a positive outcome for Mr Renton and his family,” Mr Dunne said.

Coma continues while the DHB stuffs around

Seven Sharp reported on Friday that the Wellington DHB had agreed to apply to the Ministry of Health to enable CBD (non-intoxicating cannabis oil) treatment of Alex Renton, who has been in an induced coma for sixty days due to seizures. See “Teen in coma for 57 days needs legal access to cannabis oil”.

Stuff update this in DHB delays treatment application for teenager in coma.

Alex Renton, 19, of Nelson, has been in hospital since early April and remains in “status epilepticus”,  a kind of prolonged seizure.

Capital & Coast District Health Board decided late on Friday to apply to the Ministry of Health for approval to use a marijuana extract to treat him.

The ministry is yet to receive the DHB’s application. A DHB  spokeswoman said staff would work on the application on Monday, and was expected it would be sent to the ministry in the next couple of days.

This lack of urgency from the DHB is very disappointing, even disturbing. Possibly disgraceful.

Alex is still in a coma. His family are still waiting for something that may help him.

Damien O’Connor speaks up about it.

O’Connor, a former associate health minister, has been in contact with the Renton family and says he is outraged that bureaucracy has got in the way of saving someone’s life.

“As a previous minister, I’m well aware staff will work 24 hours a day to get something done and, if they’ll do that for a trade deal, then they should be doing it for a health matter,” he said.

The way Alex’s treatment had been handled was bordering on “unethical”.

The DHB’s procrastination is very difficult to understand. Someone’s life is potentially at stake.

“Teen in coma for 57 days needs legal access to cannabis oil”

Seven Sharp had an item on Alex Renton, the 19 year old who had a major seizure and has been in a coma in Wellington Hospital for 57 days. So far treatment has been unsuccessful, and his life is at risk.

His family want to be able to try using cannabis oil (CBD) which has been successful in reducing seizures in some cases.

Today, two weeks after a recommendation from Alex’s neurologist that CBD be tried, the Wellington DHB has put in an application with the Minister of Health requesting approval to be able to use it.

TVNZ News only seems to have this available online via this video; “Teen in coma for 57 days needs legal access to cannabis oil”

Mike Hosking: On a day where we found out that the courts weren’t in a position to help Lecretia Seales, what did the judge say, it’s really only Parliament’s job who can do that, we want to introduce you to a young man who has a similar vexed battle on his hands.

Nineteen year old Alex Renton, he’s been in a coma for fifty seven days with a mystery illness.

Nadine: The drugs haven’t fixed him but his family is holding out hope, because they believe Alex’s saviour could be cannabis oil. Problem is it’s illegal. So could a law change in this case save a life?

It’s use is allowed with the approval of the Minister of Health, according to the NZ Drug Foundation:

@PeteDGeorge @metiria The law doesn’t actually need changing. The minister right now could simply give approval… if he/she wishes.

Jehancasinader: (voice over video of his family celebrating Alex’s birthday in hospital):  Alex never expected to celebrate his nineteenth birthday in a coma. The pair of shows a present from Mum, for the day she hopes he’ll walk out of here.

Alex was as fit as a fiddle, until one seizure tipped his life upside down.

Alex’s doctors are stumped, their diagnosis uncertain. Meanwhile his brain is inflamed, and rocked by constant seizures.

Alex’s family believes there’s one last hope.  Cannabis. It’s illegal of course, but advocates say the oil can fire up neurons in the brain.

Rose (Alex’s mother): We’ve been offered the oil from overseas, clinically tested oil.

The oil is extracted from special strains of the cannabis plant that are very low in the intoxicant THC.

Jehancasinader: Last year we showed you how desperate Aussie families have relied on it to save their kids lives. It needs special approval. Rose says hospital officials are dragging the chain.

Rose: They seem to be frightened.

Jehancasinader: Until now Rose says drugs haven’t been a part of Alex’s life.

Rose: This isn’t about recreational marijuana, this is about medicine.

Jehancasinader:  Now Alex is being given Ketamine.

Rose: They choose to pour chemicals into him, but they will not choose a natural herb extract.

Jehancasinader: Rose believes time is running out for her boy.

Rose: A petition of twenty five thousand people have supported this treatment for Alex, and still we wait, he waits, because one hospital thinks they know better.

Mike Hosking: Jeez it’s been a tough day in so many respects hasn’t it Jehan, even to you, you’re with us live, just tell us how is Alex doing and what seems to be the hold up, what seems to be the problem here.

Jehancasinader: Well Mike I visited Alex here at Wellington Hospital late last night with his Mum. It was pretty tough actually seeing him lying in that bed unable to move and unable to talk.

Now you heard Rose saying that story that she believes the hospital has been dragging the chain on this, and we have the proof tonight.

The Ministry of Health says that it still hasn’t even received an application from the hospital for this cannabis treatment to be given to Alex.

Now this is two whole weeks after the neurologist said look we really need to look at this as an option. He is deteriorating.

Now within the past hour I finally heard from the DHB and they’ve confirmed that today they’ve decided to put that application in to the Minister of Health. He will have the final say on whether the cannabis treatment is granted and meanwhile Alex is spending his fifty seventh night in that hospital behind me.

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne will now have responsibility for this decision.

Hope for Alex Renton

Some hope for Alex Renton – or at least for his family, who have been watching over him in a coma for 57 days now.

Stuff reported recently: Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil 

Nelson teen Alex Renton was hospitalised in early April after a serious seizure. He has been in an induced coma in Wellington’s intensive care unit since April 8.

Alex remains in ‘status epilepticus’, a kind of prolonged seizure.

With a recommendation from one of Alex’s neurologists, his family are now keen to try something new – a cannabinoid oil (CBD) extracted from marijuana that international research has endorsed as a treatment for seizures. But accessing the oil, even with the support of a neurologist, has proved nearly impossible.

This was covered on Seven Sharp tonight. They said the problem was inaction by the DHB, who need to submit a request to use CBD to the Ministry of Health.

They have also said that the DHB agreed today to submit a request to the Ministry of Health. Once they get that in it will be up to the Ministry and Peter Dunne as Associate Minister of Health as it’s his responsibility.

Cannabis oil isn’t guaranteed to be successful, one report was that it gave a 30% chance of improvement.  But for Alex and his family any chance is better than what they are having to endure at the moment.

Minister could approve CBD as interim medicine

The use of cannabis oil (CBD) for treating difficult to deal with medical problems like epilepsy and seizures has been highlighted again by Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil.

Metiria Turei (@metiria) reacted to this story on Twitter:

The law is an ass.

() has pointed out:

The law doesn’t actually need changing. The minister right now could simply give approval… if he/she wishes.

They link to the legislation:

Medicines Act 1981

23 Minister may give provisional consent
  • (1) Notwithstanding sections 20 to 22, the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, in accordance with this section, give his provisional consent to the sale or supply or use of a new medicine where he is of the opinion that it is desirable that the medicine be sold, supplied, or used on a restricted basis for the treatment of a limited number of patients.

    (2) An application for the Minister’s provisional consent under this section shall—

    • (a) be made in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (ca) of section 21(1):

    • (b) be addressed to the Director-General:

    • (c) state, or be accompanied by a statement of, the particulars specified in paragraphs (a) to (h) of section 21(2):

    • (d) be determined by the Minister in accordance with section 22.

    (3) On giving his provisional consent under this section, the Minister may impose—

    • (a) such conditions relating to the persons to whom the medicine may be sold or supplied; or

    • (b) such conditions relating to the area in which the medicine may be distributed; or

    • (c) such other conditions, not being inconsistent with the purposes of this section,—

    as he thinks fit.

    (4) Subject to subsections (4A) and (5), every provisional consent given under this section shall have effect for 2 years or such shorter period as the Minister may determine, and shall then expire.

    (4A) The Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, from time to time renew any provisional consent given under this section for a period not exceeding 2 years on any one occasion.

    (4B) Subsections (3) and (5) shall apply to any renewal of a provisional consent given under subsection (4A) as if it were a provisional consent given under subsection (1).

    (5) If, during the currency of a provisional consent given in respect of any medicine, the Minister grants a consent under section 20 in respect of the same medicine, the provisional consent shall be deemed to be revoked.

@NZdrug:

The Act says minister… but because of delegations this sits with @PeterDunneMP

Applications for Minister’s consent

  • (1) Every application for the Minister’s consent under section 20 shall—

    • (b) be made in the true name of the manufacturer or importer or proprietor, or the proposed manufacturer or importer or proprietor, in New Zealand of the medicine, by that person or by his duly authorised agent:

Sativex or CBD for teenager coma treatment?

A very sad case in Stuff – Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil – with a teenager in a coma for 54 days and his family denied treatment they hope might help where nothing else has.

Nelson teen Alex Renton was hospitalised in early April after a serious seizure. He has been in an induced coma in Wellington’s intensive care unit since April 8.

Alex remains in ‘status epilepticus’, a kind of prolonged seizure.

Despite a barrage of tests, the underlying cause remains unknown, although doctors suspect some variety of auto-immune encephalitis. Two attempts to wake him and multiple varieties of anti-epileptic medication have failed to make an impact.

An awful situation for the nineteen year old and very difficult for his family.

With a recommendation from one of Alex’s neurologists, his family are now keen to try something new – a cannabinoid oil (CBD) extracted from marijuana that international research has endorsed as a treatment for seizures. But accessing the oil, even with the support of a neurologist, has proved nearly impossible.

As Alex is legally an adult, his mother needed to gain authority over Alex’s medical decisions. After 36 hours in the Wellington District Court she was granted interim guardianship.

Neurologist Ian Rosemergy endorsed her attempt, writing in a letter that it “should at least be considered”.

“We understand that this is outside the normal parameters of the management of status epilepticus however this is the family’s wishes and we are happy to support them in this,” he said.

So a neurologist thinks it’s ok to try or at least consider another form of treatment but that might be impossible.

 New Zealand has no clinical standard for the oil, meaning no hospital will happily administer it.

Even getting the oil into the country would require considerable effort.

“It’s illegal to produce medicinal cannabis in New Zealand, so you have to do it overseas, but it’s at a horrendous price”” said Renton. She was given a quote of US$3000 (NZ$4200) for 100ml of the oil.

“Then getting it through the governmental side and the political side will be almost impossible. [

“Families shouldn’t have to fight. I shouldn’t have to fight to get what Alex needs.”

There’s no guarantee it would help but nothing currently available has helped so far.

Minister of Health spokesman Peter Abernethy clarified the Government’s position.

“Policy over successive governments has been to not support the use of leaf cannabis or cannabis oil for medicinal use,” he said.

“This position is supported by there being questions over the standardisation and potencies of natural cannabis, and the availability of pharmaceutical forms of cannabis as approved medicines.”

There seems to be a resistance to using any medication with any association with cannabis. There is one cannabis extract drug available but ironically it has an intoxicating effect.

The Government allows oral treatment of a drug called Sativex, which contains cannabis extracts that include CBD. Ministerial approval is required, and the drug is expensive, but it is legal.

Renton is wary of the higher THC content in Sativex. THC is the intoxicating agent in marijuana.

“He is already so sedated with medical drugs. I don’t want him to wake up in that state, but I may have no other choice,” Renton said.

“This isn’t just about Alex. There are thousands of people who could benefit from medicinal marijuana grown in New Zealand.”

I don’t know whether New Zealand health authorities just have an anal attitude to anything related to cannabis or if they are exercising normal medical caution on drugs with insufficient research available.

But it’s not as if there’s no history of the effects of cannabis, it’s one of the most widely used drugs in New Zealand, which as a country is one of the biggest users of cannabis in the world – illegally.

But it appears that there may be insufficient medical evidence to be sure about the safety or efficacy of CBD.

Dravet syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy that is difficult to treat. Dravet syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge.

While high profile and anecdotal reports of results from high-CBD/low-THC preparations have sparked interest in treatment with cannabinoids, there is insufficient medical evidence to draw conclusions about their safety or efficacy.

This makes it very difficult for Alex Renton’s parents. It is an awful situation for them to be in, knowing (or at least hoping) there could be something that could help their son but with little hope of being allowed to try it.

The family remains committed to obtaining CBD, setting up a Change.Org petition to pressure the Government, gaining over 400 signatures. A GiveALittle Page has allowed the Nelson community to support the seven-child Renton family as Alex’s coma has continued.

The petition currently has 13,897 supporters (7:40 am, June 1).

John Key is nowhere to be seen on medical use, although he recently stated “I just don’t agree with drugs”.

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out relaxing cannabis laws while campaigning for the Northland by-election.

In response to a question from a voter Mr Key said he did not support decriminalisation of cannabis.

The voter accused Mr Key of wanting to lock people up in jail.

“It’s not so much that, I just don’t agree with drugs,” the Prime Minister said.

Except alcohol.

The Children’s Commissioner (who happens to be a doctor) “says New Zealand should be trialling medicinal cannabis for children” – Commissioner calls for medicinal cannabis trials.

Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills says New Zealand should be trialling medicinal cannabis for children.

His comments come as an eleven-year-old girl becomes the first New Zealand child to be prescribed medicinal cannabis extract, called Sativex.

Sativex has been approved for Multiple Sclerosis and chronic pain sufferers.

But its use – untested for a child – has Dr Wills worried. He says Sativex may have side effects for children including sedation and hallucinations

“We know those side effects can be pretty substantial,” he says.

Because of those fears, he says some parents are breaking the law to make another form of cannabis oil they believe is far safer.

“Parents are bringing it in themselves because they are desperate for a solution to a devastating disease.

“The right solution is to enrol those children in an international trial.”

The situation is changing quite quickly overseas.

Medical cannabis: Norfolk Island decision sparks renewed calls to legalise drug for Australian patients

A decision to grant a licence to grow medicinal cannabis on Norfolk Island has sparked renewed calls for the drug to be made available to Australian patients.

Cannabis producer AusCann has become the first Australian company to be granted a license to grow and export medicinal cannabis to an international market.

The company will grow medicinal cannabis on Norfolk Island and export it for sale in Canada.

The company said it hoped it would soon be able to export medicinal cannabis to mainland Australia, with legislation due to come before Federal Parliament in the coming months.

But Australian review jeopardises Norfolk Island medicinal cannabis export deal

A landmark deal to grow a high-strain medicinal cannabis on Norfolk Island for export to Canada is in jeopardy, with the Australian government reviewing the decision.

But Support grows for medical marijuana before Federal Parliament vote.

More than two-thirds of Australians back the use of medicinal cannabis, according to a new survey likely to bolster support among MPs and senators who are set to vote on the issue in the coming months.

Palliative Care Australia has found 67 per cent of people are happy to see the drug used to help patients with chronic pain and illness – and support is strongest among the elderly.

The survey found people in older age brackets were more supportive of legalisation than the young: 72 per cent of 75 to 84-year-olds are in favour, compared to 62 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.

The survey of 1006 people from across the country found just 9 per cent of Australians oppose the use of medicinal cannabis. About a quarter – 24 per cent – say they are not sure.

An unlike New Zealand there seems to be a willingness to allow the use of medical cannabis by their politicians:

The results will further add to the momentum behind a legalisation bill currently before the federal parliament.

The bill would make the federal government responsible for overseeing the production, distribution and use of medicinal cannabis.

A Senate inquiry into the bill is set to report back to Parliament next month. The bill looks likely to pass into law, particularly given Prime Minister Tony Abbott threw his support behind the legalisation last year.

“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” he said.

In the US there has been many changes to legislation over the past eighteen months with various degrees of availability of or research into CBD – CBD Oil Now Legal in 14 States (with four more “on the verge”)

Alabama On Apr. 1, 2014, Gov. Robert Bentley signed Carly’s Law. The bill calls for the University of Alabama to conduct research into cannibidiol’s efficacy in treating neurological conditions such as epilepsy. UAB would be able to prescribe the oil to approved patients.

Florida On Apr. 22, 2014, HB 843 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 15-3 vote. The bill calls for “four regional orginizations around the state” to “grow, test and dispense” the oil. A patient registry would be created. Unlike other CBD legislation, HB 843 is not limited to seizure conditions; patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and cancer would also qualify.

Georgia CBD oil legislation known as Haleigh’s Hope Act, failed to receive a Senate vote after sailing through Georgia’s House on Mar. 4, 2014. However, in May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executiuve order calling for a study. The British firm GW Pharmaceuticals and Georgia Regents University are collaborating on the research. The legislation was reintroduced for the 2015 session. The House passed it on Mar, 25, 2015. The bill covers eight conditions, including seizures, cancer, MS, ALS, sickle cell and mitchondria.

Idaho On Apr. 7, 2015, the Idaho House approved a CBD oil bill by a close 39-30 vote. Named for 11-year-old epilepsy patient Alexis Carey, the legislation would allow parents to possess up to 32 fluid ounces of liquid cannabidiol (max 15% CBD and .03% THC) to administer to chilldren who suffer from seizure disorders. On Apr. 16, Gov. Butch Otter vetoed the bill. However, he says he’ll issue an executive order requiring the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to study the effects of CBD oil on epilepsy; this may lead to access to the oil for children.

Iowa On Apr. 9, 2014, the House Public Safety Committee passed a CBD oil bill by a 13-5 margin. The legislation, already been approved by the Senate, is strictly intended for patients with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. It allows for possession of a six-months supply (32 ounces) and calls for the University of Iowa to conduct a CBD study. Patients will need to go out-of-state (presumably to Colorado) to acquire the oil.

Kentucky On Apr. 11, 2014, Gov. Steve Beshear signed SB 124 into law. On Mar. 12, Kentucky’s Senate unanimously approved the bill. On Mar, 26, the House did the same. The new law allows the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville med schools to conduct research into CBD oil and provide it to patients enrolled in the trial program.

MIssissippi  On Apr. 17, 2014, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill named which calls for the National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford to produce the medicine.

Missouri  On May 1, 2014, the Missouri House (136-12) and Senate (unanimous) passed CBD-only leglislation.The bill directs the state’s Department of Agricultiure to set up a system for non-profit applicants to produce the oil under Health and Senior Services guidelines. Patients who suffer from seizures must prove that other treatment regimens have failed.

New York On June 3, 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state has entered into an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals to investigate the efficacy of cannabidiol use by children suffering from the seizure disorders Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastuat syndrome. The clinical trials will take place at hospitals, universities and medical colleges. GW is already working with NYU’s Langone Medical Center on a trial involving 60 children and their CBD product, Epidiolex. New York passed a broader medical marijuana bill on June 20.

North Carolina  On June 27, 2014 the state legislature passed CBD-oil bills. The legislation calls for a trial study to be conducted by the state’s top four universities – UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and East Carolina. Th primary focus is making making the oil available to youngsters who suffer from seizures. Neurologists are responsible for providing the medicine.

Oklahoma On Apr. 30, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallon signed legislation making Oklahoma the 14th state to legalize CBD oil“This bill will help get sick children potentially life-changing medicine,” Fallin started. “By crafting the legislation in a way that allows for tightly controlled medical studies, we can ensure we are researching possible treatments in a responsible and scientific way. It is not marijuana, and it is not anything that can make you high. This law has been narrowly crafted to support highly supervised medical trials for children with debilitating seizures.”

South Carolina CBD oil legislation passed South Carolina’s House (92-5) and Senate (unanimous), and became law on May 28, 2014. The bill requires a clinical trial to be established at the University of South Carolina.

Tennessee Last May, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill that directs Tennessee Tech University to create a research program to study the efficacy of CBD oil used to prevent seizures. The University is required to provide oil to other schools of medicine. All research must be completed by 2018.

Utah On Mar. 25, 2014, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 105 into law, making Utah the first state to legalize CBD oil. On Mar. 11, Utah’s Senate unanimously passed the bill which instructs the state’s Department to Agriculture to grow low-THC industrial hemp for the purpose of producing cannabis oil. Known as the “Plants Extracts Amendment,” the bill allows Utah residents to acquire the medicine in Colorado and bring it back to Utah.

Virginia After sailing through Virginia’s Senate, the House version of SB 1235 received a unanimous 98-0 vote in favor on Feb. 10. The bill prevents patients from being prosecuted for using cannabis oil for seizure-related conditions.

Wisconsin  On Apr. 16, 2014, Gov. Scott Walker signed  AB 726 into law. It’s unclear where and by whom the oil is going to be produced.

In New Zealand we seem to have a clash of Government caution and parent desperation.

Sky City eyesore

It’s a bit disgarceful that John Key would even suggest pouring taxpayer money into a deal that’s supposed to have already been done.

If he had any business nous he’d know when to walk away from an attempt to blatantly rip us off.

In any case an eyesore should fit in pretty well in the Auckland CBD, it’s not as if there’s anything much that’s nice left there.

If National fund a private gambling company development they should be roundly booed from the left and from the right.