New Zealanders deserve a positive and solutions-focused discussion on access to medicinal cannabis, which should be legal, and affordable.
Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has has a members’ bill (originally written by Julie Anne Genter) before parliament which would legalise access to cannabis products for New Zealanders suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition.
We’ve seen a sea change in public attitudes about medicinal cannabis in recent years, thanks to the many brave people who have spoken out about their experiences with chronic pain and terminal illness.
The most recent Ministry of Health study found that of 400,000 New Zealanders who use cannabis, a whopping 42% do so for medicinal purposes, to alleviate pain or nausea. It’s time for our laws to catch up with what is already happening - so those suffering don’t risk jail for no reason other than archiac, cruel laws.
Going down a pharmaceutical route is going to price cannabis out of people's hands. Until people can legally grow their own cannabis or designate someone to grow it, patients across Aotearoa are likely to remain criminals. We can do better than this.
Current cannabis laws are out of date and causing harm, including the criminalisation of individuals and families at a significant cost to the economy. We still don’t have affordable access to medicinal cannabis in New Zealand. Unless lawful medicinal cannabis is made reasonably accessible, current strong demand will continue to be met largely by an unregulated black market.
The Green Party has always campaigned for a compassionate approach to medicinal cannabis, and as a partner of the Government we want to see this done right. Supporting this bill through to Select Committee will ensure the best range of options for medicinal cannabis law change are debated by the public.
Drug Law Reform Policy
The Green Party recognises that:
- Drug policy should be rational and based on credible and scientifically-valid evidence.
- There can be adverse health, social and economic consequences from the use of drugs for both individuals and society.
- Not all drug use is problematic.
- Some individuals in society will choose to use drugs, regardless of their legal status.
- Prohibition of drugs can cause more harm that it prevents.
- Drug policy should have a primary focus on improving public health instead of trying to punish users.
This was a members' bill previously promoted by Julie Anne Genter, but adopted by Chloe Swarbrick. It was voted down in 2018, but we have worked with our Government partners to develop a medicinal cannabis regime to be in place for 2020 that will be more affordable and accessible for New Zealanders.