NORML’s unsubmissive submission on behalf of impatient patients

By   /   April 13, 2018  /   6 Comments

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Hearings on the Government’s medicinal cannabis law reform bill continue throughout April and May, with NORML New Zealand this week delivering an unsubmissive submission on behalf of impatient patients.

Hearings on the Government’s medicinal cannabis law reform bill continue throughout April and May, with NORML New Zealand this week delivering an unsubmissive submission on behalf of impatient patients.

NORML’s evidence was presented to Parliament’s Health Select Committee by Rebecca Reider – a Golden Bay patient who was raided and prosecuted by police, and who subsequently successfully imported cannabis medicines into New Zealand – and Phil Saxby, of Wellington, former president of NORML and former Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Board.

“Like most New Zealanders, we find it intolerable that people with medical conditions which could benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis products are denied that choice or forced to act illegally to obtain those benefits,” said Rebecca Reider. “With one-in-twenty New Zealanders using cannabis medicinally, it’s time to bring this issue into the light of day. Legalising medicinal cannabis is not a radical proposal.”

“Patients throughout New Zealand are already using herbal cannabis. We simply want our existing medicines of choice to be legal.

“We are encouraged by comments from some committee members that indicate a desire to make the Bill broader and stronger. We think the test of any new law should be to ask, ‘What would Helen Kelly want?‘”

NORML’s submission advocates in support of:

  • Descheduling CBD but allowing a wider 5% tolerance for other cannabinoids, so products can be made cheaply and quickly;
  • Broadening the statutory defence to cover any patient with a “terminal illness or chronic and debilitating medical condition, where a doctor has recommended the use of cannabis”, and also exempting cultivation, including by family or caregivers;
  • Taking a herbal remedy or food-based approach for non-pharmaceutical cannabis products, to allow local products to be available in New Zealand more quickly and cheaply.

“NORML strongly supports the Government’s intention to create a Medicinal Cannabis Access Scheme, but we remain concerned it will be a corporate pharmaceutical-style scheme like Australia,” added Phil Saxby. “We urge a more compassionate, patient-focused, regime that also allows small-scale “craft cannabis” production and for patients to provide for themselves, such as in Canada and many US states.

“We want Craft Cannabis, not just Big Cannabis,” said Mr Saxby.

“Medicinal cannabis balms, tinctures, juices, or smoothies should be treated as herbal remedies. It’s also important workers with cannabis convictions should not be prohibited from entering the industry.”

NORML New Zealand Inc, formed in 1980, is New Zealand’s longest running cannabis advocacy organisation. Based on extensive consultation with members, patients and advocates including Helen Kelly, NORML adopted a 4-Point Model for medicinal cannabis law reform.

NORML’s full written submission, including all of our recommendations, is available for download here:

Submission from NORML NZ Inc on the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill

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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.


  1. Andrewo says:

    Hmmm. The same blog that promoted cannabis also whines about the state of mental health in NZ.

    and you don’t see the connection?

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Well done Chris,

    A full hardy support for freedom of choice in alternative medicine from the intuitive toxic prescription medications that often include petrochemical derivatives that patients like me with chemical poisoning (workplace exposures) cannot tolerate so I am left to either break the law or go without any medication.

  3. bruce says:

    These laws are the result of stupid poly’s being played by unscrupulous business enterprises. The poly’s will never acknowledge how stupid they are to be sucked in by the fake news reefer madness and would rather continue to watch the planet and its people destroyed with oil and deforestation.

  4. Isabel J says:

    Many NZers, including all politicians, would do well to view/listen to the docuseries “The Sacred Plant” – Episode 1 of which can be found via You Tube.

    As a decades-long sufferer from Multiple Sclerosis & as a knowledgeablely informed NZRN, the pain that I am forced to live with would be cured with cannabis that I should be able to grow & eat the leaves raw. But ignorant policians have determined otherwise!

    And I think almost the majority of equally ignorant NZers support the government!

  5. Janio says:

    Andrewo’s comment shows he is misled by propaganda or shonky research to make a connection between cannabis and mental (ill) health. On the contrary cannabis is good for your health, taken sensibly. As someone who has also had MS for about 16 years I went through the legal channels to get medicinal cannabis. My sympathetic GP applied to Peter Dunne and wow success! for $1200 monthly I could get it from the chemist. Like most others approved I couldn’t afford it. I would prefer the system Norml describes and avoid cannabis controlled by companies geared for profit. Go Norml go.

  6. Heather says:

    Fabulous. Has NORML looked into the canabis laws of Israel? They are world leaders as far as I can tell so we might be able to learn a thing or two from the Jewish nation.

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