MPs to vote on the Greens’ Medicinal Cannabis Bill next Wednesday 31st Jan

By   /   January 26, 2018  /   15 Comments

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The Greens’ Medicinal Cannabis Bill will have it’s first vote in Parliament next Wednesday 31st Jan. This is sooner than we expected, so it’s really important to hit that keyboard and urge your MP to support the bill.

The Greens’ Medicinal Cannabis Bill will have it’s first vote in Parliament next Wednesday 31st Jan. This is sooner than we expected, so it’s really important to hit that keyboard and urge your MP to support the bill.

Here are some reasons you can use:

  • The public wants it, with over 80 per cent support for legalising medicinal cannabis in almost all polls.
  • Let the Bill go to Select Committee so the public can have their say in what they want in a medicinal cannabis law
  • The Labour/Govt Bill does not resolve the most pressing issues that people expect Parliament to address:
    • The Labour/Govt Bill does not provide relief for people with chronic pain or any other non-terminal condition that cannabis-based medicines may alleviate;
    • The Labour/Govt Bill does not allow terminal patients to grow or obtain medicinal cannabis even though they’ll have a statutory defence for using or possessing it;
    • The Labour/Govt Bill does not protect providers of medicinal cannabis (those making balms, tinctures, etc), these are often family or friends and if they are arrested the patient loses their access;
    • and The Labour/Govt Bill does not actually allow domestic production as it fails to amend s14(3), which prohibits issuing licenses to manufacture a controlled drug for consumption other than research or study (ie, no actual products can be made here).
  • The Greens’ Bill resolves all these issues. At the very least, it should go to Select Committee for further discussion and public input.

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has asked for public support in a really informative video posted to Facebook this week. It has all the facts you need.

Take a few moments to email your local MP or any MP you feel represents you (the easy to remember format is firstname.lastname@parliament.govt.nz) or leave a constructive message or comment on their Facebook page. If you see any MPs out and about weekend be sure to raise the issue with them!

If you are in Wellington or can travel there, be at Parliament for the vote. It’s really important to demonstrate support in real life, as they are about to determine the fate of thousands of New Zealanders suffering in pain and from a variety of ailments that cannabis can alleviate.

Their contact details are also here: https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/members-of-parliament/

This will be a conscience vote, meaning MPs vote in the best interests of the country, rather than their party. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark have both said they will vote for the Green’s Bill, at least to select committee stage.

In particular we need to target Labour MPs of the more conservative variety, all NZ First MPs, and National MPs of the more liberal variety.

NZ First MPs are the reason why Labour’s Bill is watered down. They are why Julie Anne Genter is not Minister in charge. They are why protection was not extended to those suffering in chronic pain. They are the most important MPs to help sway.

We also think a few Labour MPs won’t vote for the Greens’ Bill, so we need perhaps 10 to 15 National MPs to vote for it. It’s a big ask, but if they listen to the public or have an ounce of compassion they should support this Bill.

Be sure to let NORML or other cannabis reform advocates know how you get on.

There is a silvery-green lining even if the Greens’ Bill fails to pass, which is why I think they’ve put it up for a vote now: it will flush out opponent’s arguments and provide a measure of where Parliament is at ahead of the vote on the Government’s own Bill. If it fails to pass that will increase pressure on the Govt to make substantial changes to their own lacklustre Bill.

They’ll have a better idea of what additional reforms Parliament is likely to support – and we’ll know who to vote for next election!

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About the author

Chris Fowlie

Former editor of NORML News, Chris Fowlie is president of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, manager of The Hempstore, and court-recognised expert witness for serious cannabis charges.

15 Comments

  1. Strypey says:

    After all these years as voices in the wilderness, it’s so gratifying to see mainstream politicians like Adern and Clark find their backbone and propose – however timidly – some law changes that go in the right direction. I hope this bill at least makes it to select committee, unlike the last Greens bill fronted by Metiria.

    I’ll never forget sitting in the public gallery during that debate and hearing some tory matron shriek “we can’t have people growing their own medicine”. Whyever not? As I noted on Indymedia at the time, that must have been news to Māori MPs, whose people have been doing exactly that for hundreds of years.

  2. Katie says:

    Hi Chris,
    I’m ready to lobby- could you please tell us who you think these “conservative” Labour MPs are? They’ll be my first targets 🙂

    Cheers

  3. […] Originally published on The Daily Blog, 26 January 2018 […]

  4. Helen kelly wanted both medicinal and recreational access in her proposed referendum. Step on the gas – It is criminal negligence not to act in light of all the information. Thanks Chris and others efforts.

  5. […] Green’s Bill on Medical Cannabis comes up for a vote to send it to Select Committee on 31st January. This will give us a relatively […]

  6. Draco T Bastard says:

    Considering that 80% of the population support medical cannabis I expect at least 100% of our representatives to vote for Chloe Swarbrick’s bill.

    Anything less would prove that our #democracy is a sham and that our representatives aren’t actually representing us.

  7. Blake says:

    California legalized medicinal marijuana in — 1996 ! ! ! and now it is legal – totally legal there and in other states. You can grow it in those states and use it and sell it — LEGALLY NOW.
    So NZ is way WAY W A Y ! ! behind the times.
    Stinkin thinkin and stinkin laws.
    It is laughable how backward we are here in NZ on many important issues.

  8. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Who will make the big money if the Green Medicinal Cannabis Bill is passed ? Or are the Hempsters a bit shy about that ?

    Even more importantly, who will make the big money if Recreational Cannabis gets the green light for go?

    Will Surgeons, Pilots, Midwifes, Policemen, Bus Drivers, Truckies, Children, Teachers, and Teens be allowed to freely hit out on Cannabis whenever and however they wish ?

    Why are the promoters of Recreational Cannabis not explaining the potential harm of Cannabis ?

    It is worthwhile reading The Scientific American article “How Safe Is Recreational Marijuana? ” The Article includes a reference to some New Zealand study.

    In the meantime – it’s a Happy Happy High old World – eh ?

    • Strypey says:

      These prohibitionist talking points are worth addressing point by point:

      * “Who will make the big money if the Green Medicinal Cannabis Bill is passed ?”

      This is a red herring. It simply doesn’t matter. A more relevant question is this; who makes money out of the opioids which are currently prescribed for pain relief, and are creating an epidemic of substance addiction? How likely is it that any campaign against legalising medical cannabis will be funded by the like of them?

      * “Even more importantly, who will make the big money if Recreational Cannabis gets the green light for go?”

      Also a red herring. Worse case scenario, it will be the same sort of investors who make the big money out of alcohol and tobacco. Whoever it is, it won’t be the totally unregulated criminal organizations that are making the big money from cannabis remaining illegal. Were people safer from the harms of alcohol during prohibition, or has selling it through a regulated industry mitigated those harms?

      * “Will Surgeons, Pilots, Midwifes, Policemen, Bus Drivers, Truckies, Children, Teachers, and Teens be allowed to freely hit out on Cannabis whenever and however they wish ?”

      No. Alcohol is legal, but you don’t see a lot of midwives or policeman drinking it at work. People will be expected not to use cannabis while doing those sorts of jobs, just as they’re expected not to drink alcohol (or huff paint for that matter) while doing those jobs. There will be an age limit, probably R18 as with alcohol and tobacco. At present, there is no such regulation stopping children and teens from buying cannabis from unscrupulous black market vendors.

      * “Why are the promoters of Recreational Cannabis not explaining the potential harm of Cannabis ?”

      As a prohibitionist, that’s your job. We think it’s adequate to point out that although any substance can cause health harms (look at the massive harm that refined sugar causes), the available evidence suggests that cannabis is less harmful than tobacco and significantly less harmful than alcohol.

      * “It is worthwhile reading The Scientific American article “How Safe Is Recreational Marijuana? ” The Article includes a reference to some New Zealand study.”

      The prohibitionist interpretation of the Dunedin study data has been demolished on a number of occasions. In a nutshell, the study data could show that cannabis use increases the chances of psychosis, but it could just as easily show that psychosis increases someone’s chances of choosing to use cannabis. Correlation does not prove causation.

      Even if we accept the prohibitionist interpretation, the data only showed a correlation with psychosis when cannabis was consumed regularly by those under 18. Legalizing recreational cannabis sales, and strictly enforcing the R18 limit, would mitigate this harm (if it exists) much more effectively than maintaining the failed status quo, and punishing responsible cannabis users for the behaviour of a handful of irresponsible substance abusing young people.

  9. Kim dandy says:

    Blake is right – it’s 2018 ! Its been legalized in enough places now to see pros and cons, as far as making it work.
    Somebody must be making a lot of money somewhere along the line for such a slow law change to take effect.
    Been all about money and greed in NZ for sometime now…

    • Blake says:

      Thanks Kim. I get very tire of listening to uninformed and frantic idiots who continue to demonize this helpful herb by stating the COMPLETE UNTRUTH that it is a ” gateway drug “. It is not – and it needs to be made legal and used by those who need it for pain relief and healing
      Fear mongers and greedy politicians need to be put out to pasture.
      NZ is way behind the times in many key areas and it is sad, very sad.