Rebecca Reider’s legal costs

Rebecca Reider fought in court for her right to use prescribed (overseas) medicinal cannabis last week and won.

This has been at a cost, so she is raising funds to cover some of those costs through a Givealittle page:

Medicinal cannabis – defending our rights

She explains her case and cause:

I’ve won my court case, defending my use of cannabis to manage chronic pain. However, I’ve been left with a massive legal bill to pay.

I’m so happy that my case may ease the way for other patients in need of medicinal cannabis. The supportive, grateful messages from other patients have made this hard and stressful journey worth it.

As a followup to my case, my attorney is now working to confirm that all patients will be able to bring medicinal cannabis products into the country from overseas if needed (until it’s legal to grow it here, which is of course the ultimate goal).

As a partially disabled person, I’m not able to work very much, so I’d really appreciate help covering my legal costs. Many hands make light work – if a magical 420 people each give $5, we’ll get there!

About my case:

In Nov 2015, police raided my house – searching my home and communications devices, and seizing my cannabis, commercially made cannabis oil medicines and seeds. This occurred because NZ Customs had intercepted two medicinal cannabis-infused chocolate bars in the mail to me. On Feb 29th 2016, at my third appearance in Nelson District Court, I was discharged without conviction on all charges of importation and possession.

I’ve been wrestling with a challenging chronic full-body pain condition for over nine years. I’ve seen over two dozen doctors, and most of them have been unable to help or even diagnose me. However, cannabis really helps my muscle spasms to release. I hold a medical cannabis prescription in California, where I was born. I’m so grateful for the soothing power of this plant. In some hard moments, it’s been a saving grace.

The judge recognised the validity of my overseas cannabis prescription – possibly a first in NZ. My defence rested on a previously little-known clause in the Misuse of Drugs Act, which allows a person to physically bring a month’s supply of a controlled drug into New Zealand, so long as it was lawfully supplied overseas and is being used to treat a medical condition.

This case is only one step. But we believe we’ve opened an important new chink in the armour of this country’s inhumane and outdated prohibition of a very important plant medicine.

My attorney and I are currently working to clarify the legal situation and importation protocols so that other patients can follow in my footsteps and bring medicinal cannabis into the country without suffering the massive burden of criminal charges.

This funding campaign covers my attorney’s fees, and my travel costs for my court appearances. It doesn’t cover the significant amount of time I’ve had to take off work to deal with a complex legal process, or the stress of being treated like a criminal – but I’m just glad my hardship has been for the greater good. This campaign also doesn’t cover the significant cost of my cannabis medicines, which the police seized and have not returned, and which were special products suited to my pain condition… I may have to wait for someone to start a Give-a-Nug website to replace those 😉

More info on my case:

More detail on our legal argument, from my lawyer:

It was an interesting case and the judge seemed to have some sympathy for Rebecca’s situation.  As will many people.

It seems nuts that a relatively harmless drug that seems to have many helpful and medicinal attributes is still so risky to use.