Cannabis law reform campaigners congratulate the government on the progress of it’s medicinal cannabis Bill in Parliament tonight.
“One down, one to go!” said Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for NORML New Zealand Inc., as Parliament tonight passed the Government’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill.
“This is a first for New Zealand. It represents a significant turning point, and we commend the Government for their commitment to make medicinal cannabis a priority,” said Mr Fowlie, who will be at Parliament on Wednesday. “It takes a few steps to wind back ninety years of bad policy, and if MPs also pass Chloe Swarbrick’s Bill we can do even better.”
The Government’s Bill will facilitate domestic production of medicinal cannabis products, remove the Cannabidiol (CBD) from the Misuse of Drugs Act, and create an exemption for terminally ill people to use and possess cannabis.
However it may take several years before products become available. With one in twenty New Zealanders already using cannabis medicinally, with most of them not terminally ill, attention now turns to Chloe Swarbrick’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and other matters) Amendment Bill, which would extend the exemption to more patients and allow them to grow their own.
“Let the people have their say,” said medicinal cannabis patient Rebecca Reider. “The Government bill would force most cannabis patients to remain criminals. Patients are desperately hoping the Swarbrick bill will pass. If MPs have concerns they should let it get to select committee so those concerns can be answered.”
“National MPs have criticised the Government Bill for raising expectations and not going far enough,” said Mr Fowlie. “They should allow their MPs a free vote to support Chloe Swarbrick’s bill through to select committee.”
“Chloe’s bill is not actually radical by international standards,” added Ms Reider. “It’s similar to regimes that have been successful in Canada and the US for decades.”