Medical cannabis regime ‘anything but compassionate’

Prime Minister Bill English has been criticised after he claimed that there is already a compassionate legal route for patients to get medical cannabis products.

It is difficult and slow for most patients trying to obtain medical cannabis products legally, and many resort to breaking the law. Doctors have claimed possibly half of their patients are self medicating with cannabis products.

RadioLive: That’s a ‘no’ to doctors prescribing medical cannabis – Bill English on The AM Show

Fear of creating a ‘marijuana industry’ is stopping Prime Minister Bill English from allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical reasons.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, Mr English said there’s already a “compassionate” and legal route for patients to get cannabis products – if they need them.

“The minister’s just changed the rules so that’s a little bit easier, with the Ministry of Health now approving it instead of each one going to the minister.

“As far as we can see, that’s going to work pretty well and we don’t want to take it any further.”

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ asks English “where is the compassion?”

On Duncan Garner’s Radio show Monday morning, our Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with the current special approvals scheme.

Just 2 days before an Oncologist on the TV3 show “The Nation” suggested that about half his Cancer patients were using Cannabis. It would be safe to assume that none of them were using legal options as they were not cost effective. Sativex contains perhaps $180 dollars equivalent of Raw Cannabis, for the cost of over $1000

MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun:

“Currently perhaps 1 per 100,000 people are accessing Medical Cannabis legally. If a doctor is accepting widespread Cannabis use in his patient population, with no effort put into trying to help them go legal then the patients are at the mercy of police discretion.

“The police have shown no ability to think of the public interest and discretion around Cannabis based offences for patients.

“Just this weekend they seized a Tetraplegic’s Personal Cannabis supply, how does that make the community safer? How does the community feel about that?

”The current system simply isn’t working and is anything but compassionate.

“MCANZ doesn’t advocate for terminal patients, as they generally die before the product is in their hands, as has happened to a toddler last year who died the week he was scheduled to start on Sativex”

Le Brun says that MCANZ would like a domestic market developed for Cannabis based medicines, believing they can be produced to a high standard without the need for expensive clinical trials.

“Cannabis based products are relatively simple, It’s just another Essential Oil.

“The Current regime ensures that only expensive products will be acceptable, and that means patients will continue to break the law with the support of their specialists, and making criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens.”

It drives people who are suffering severely and in some cases dying to break the law. Helen Kelly was a prominent example, being open about illegally using cannabis products as she died of cancer.

The domestic market in Canada is considered by MCANZ to be the closest model to ideal, where products are prescribed by GPs, and the cost per mg of active ingredients are 80% less of what is paid in New Zealand currently.

Many other countries are making medical cannabis far easier and cheaper to get – and legally.

See also:

Newshub: Half of cancer patients using cannabis, say doctors

Dr Falkov says 40 to 60 percent of his patients are using medicinal cannabis, and it may have benefits beyond pain relief.

“Essentially most patients use it firstly because they hope it’ll work and improve their cancer control rates, and that’s a very important thing that’s been missed in this debate about medical cannabis. It may well increase cancer control rates.

“Secondly, they’re using it for pain, and thirdly they’re using it basically for appetite stimulation, and a lot of them are using it for anxiety and nausea and vomiting.

“What I’d really like to see is not widespread legalisation of every form of cannabis, but allowing doctors to actually ask patients about their cannabis use; record what they take; evaluate the effectiveness of various products and actually be allowed to use cannabis in research protocols with cancers that are subject to normal ethical approval; going through ethics committees, and subject to normal clinical trial constraints.

“All I’d like really is for cannabis to be treated like any other medication.”

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Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ: website

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ is a Registered charity, run by a group of passionate, rational like-minded people with a personal stake in the need for Medical Cannabis in New Zealand. Our ambition first and foremost is to “Put Patients before Politics” and help others get access to Medical Cannabis in New Zealand through legal means. Our ambition is to facilitate and promote the re-introduction of Medicinal Cannabis products – as prescription medicines in NZ. We aim to provide a community for patients and their carers, to promote education of both the general public and especially the medical fraternity, and work towards MC products being more widely available, without the stigma attached currently.