Cambridge Grey Power president Val Massey agrees with the organisation’s national president when he said the needs of ill people needing medicinal cannabis had been “clouded” by recreational users.
Grey Power Federation president Tom O’Connor made his thoughts known after Green MP Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill failed at its first Parliamentary reading at the end of January.
The bill, which sought to allow ill New Zealanders to use and grow marijuana – or have someone grow it for them – was defeated, with 73 votes against and 47 in favour.
Mr O’Connor said Grey Power had urged Parliament to send the Green Party bill on medical cannabis to the select committee stage, so the public could debate the issue.
“The Government has introduced a bill, which creates a criminal defence for those using cannabis by those with a terminal illness. This probably does not go far enough as those with chronic pain should also have access to medicinal cannabis if it offers them some relief.”
He said the Green Party bill would have allowed anyone with a doctor’s prescription to access medicinal cannabis, and Grey Power felt that such decisions should be made by health professionals, not politicians.
“Unfortunately, the genuine needs of seriously ill people were clouded by a noisy group seeking the right to grow their own cannabis for recreational use, and so-called self-medication.”
There was a “world of difference” between cannabis-based pharmaceuticals, fully-tested, and home-grown cannabis for self-medication, which the (Grey Power) Federation did not support, he said.
Val Massey said recently that Cambridge Grey Power fully endorsed Mr O’Connor’s remarks.
“Cambridge Grey Power debated the issue of medicinal cannabis last year, and we agreed that this should be available to all who really need it, but only under strict supervision.”
Ms Swarbrick ‘s medicinal cannabis bill would have allowed the terminally ill and debilitated to legally access and use cannabis if prescribed it by their doctor, without fear of prosecution. It proposed broader access to medicinal cannabis than the more conservative Government bill.