The Green Party is supporting the Government’s medicinal cannabis legislation introduced to parliament today, but is encouraging the public to use the select committee process to push for improvements to expand the law in relation to New Zealanders suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions who could benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis, but who are excluded from legal protections in the Bill.
“This Bill represents a significant improvement from the status quo and delivers on the promise to legislate for medicinal cannabis. It represents the consensus view across the governing parties,” said Green Party drug law reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick.
“We will vote to improve access to medicinal cannabis, but we are disappointed the Bill does not provide coverage to all people suffering from conditions who could benefit from its use, limiting access to a legal defence to only those with a terminal illness.
“Parliament has the opportunity to improve the Bill through the select committee process and through supporting my Member’s Bill, which offers sick New Zealanders better access to medicinal cannabis pain relief.
“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.
“We are encouraging New Zealanders who want to see the Bill widened to include sufferers of chronic pain and other medical conditions to make their voice heard at the select committee. We will support them and keep pushing for a better Bill.
“New Zealanders overwhelmingly support the use of medicinal cannabis for the alleviation of pain, so it’s disappointing the Bill excludes these people. A Curia Research Poll commissioned by the New Zealand Drug Foundation this year showed 78% of New Zealanders support growing and using cannabis for any medical reasons such as to alleviate pain,” said Ms Swarbrick.