Police persecute medicinal cannabis suppliers – this isn’t the kindness or reform we were promised!

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Police have been under fire for raiding and prosecuting people using and producing medicinal cannabis products – but the blame lies squarely with politicians writing bad laws.

Cannabis is used as an effective medicine by thousands of New Zealanders, some with life-threatening conditions that have not responded to conventional treatments. The Ministry of Health estimates around 200,000 people in New Zealand use cannabis medicinally – but only 2-3000 have been able to obtain it legally.

Two-and-a-half years after the passage of the Government’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, there are few legal medicinal cannabis products and none of them count as “affordable”. So it’s no surprise that desperate patients have turned illicit providers.

These so-called “Green Fairies” produce a range of balms, oils and edibles as well as buds and concentrates. They often do it on a charitable basis, putting themselves at great risk for no financial gain.

These are the same people that helped Helen Kelly as she died from cancer. Promises were made to Helen that the law would be changed, and those who helped ease her suffering would not be treated like criminals.

In 2018 a statutory defence was put into that ancient piece of legislation, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, to cover patients undergoing palliation to legally obtain, use and possess cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

But while terminal patients could now obtain it legally, that did noting to protect the Green Fairies who supplied them with meds.

In 2019 a further amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 affirmed that police have discretion to prosecute, and that they should only do so if it is in the public interest.

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But crucially, that amendment – which has attracted much criticism for failing to curb discriminatory application of the law – also applies only to section 7 of the Act, which only covers possession and use.

It does not apply to section 6, which covers cultivation and “manufacture” (which is what the law says a muffin baker is doing).

So when Parliament told Police they had discretion for use and possession, in effect they also reminded the police they do not have discretion for cultivation and manufacture charges.

If they have no discretion, as the law now appears to tell them, then police must prosecute.

That is why we are now seeing Police (and Customs) targetting providers of medicinal cannabis products, including the father of a cancer patient.

The Minister of Health, Andrew “The Grump” Little, has rejected calls for an amnesty. Little says the Government is “not contemplating anything along those lines at this point”, and instead said the police should use their discretion to enforce drug laws “on the basis of public interest considerations.”

That discretion is now under review because it plainly hasn’t worked.

This shambles needs a proper fix, but let’s start with an easy solution: just put a copy of the clause affirming police discretion into section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

That would then allow police to apply their discretion for the Green Fairies growing cannabis and producing medicinal products.

That goes further than what the previous Government was willing to do – but New Zealand First is no longer part of the equation, arrests have continued, and we shouldn’t have to keep reminding the Labour leadership of the promises they made to Helen Kelly.

Instead of resisting every step, those who determine the fate of New Zealand’s cannabis community should be asking themselves “What would Helen do?”

Against that yardstick, the current approach is a shameful embarrassment that fails patients and their caregivers.

It also fails the police who are given the unenviable job of navigating layers of badly written legislation founded on a steaming pile of hate and discrimination. Let’s give them better things to do.

Chris Fowlie is the president of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws NZ Inc; developer of the CHOISE model for cannabis social equity; CEO of Zeacann Limited, a cannabis science company; co-founder of the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council; co-founder of The Hempstore Aotearoa; resident expert for Marijuana Media on 95bFM; cannabis blogger for The Daily Blog, and court-recognised independent expert witness for cannabis. The opinions expressed here are his own.

14 COMMENTS

  1. NZ drug squad cops have always gone hard against medical cannabis facilitators and law reformers ,,, all the way back to John Banks, Peter Dunne other Politicians letting the dogs among our Police off the leash ,,,,

    And right now there is some bitter and pissed off Drug squad cops still angry that their annual helicopter yahoo against Cannabis was canceled ,,,, Fuck Jacinda and fuck being kind they say.

    Sgt Dibble didn’t join the frigging police to be kind ,,, it’s the ‘Police FORCE’ ,,, not the ‘Police Kind’.

    *********************************************************
    And speaking of Govt officials / Public Servants being arse-holes ,,,,, over access to medicines.,,,
    Check out the dirty dishonest cocksuckers who infest MFAT ,,,, the fuckers think they work for the Usa.

    “New Zealand to support effort to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents, after United States backs WTO bid”

    “Removing the intellectual property (IP) protections would allow third-party manufacturers to produce vaccines, possibly opening up more supply.

    As of April, the effort had been co-sponsored by 60 WTO member countries including Fiji, which has been grappling with a second wave of Covid-19 this week”

    “NEW ZEALAND TRADE OFFICIALS HAVE PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED RELUCTANCE ABOUT THE .EFFORT” ,,,, https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/125048729/new-zealand-to-support-effort-to-waive-covid19-vaccine-patents-after-united-states-backs-wto-bid

    and we don’t even make Vaccines ,,, or are in a position to lose money from having a patent ‘stolen’.

    The broom needs to be put through MFAT ,,,,,,, those sick fucks thought it was a good idea for NZ to make money by Air NZ helping starve Yemen children and civilians to death ,,,, a particularly cruel prolonged and miserable death.

    And now we find out they were against the poor in the world getting vaccines ,,, because drug corporations and that epstein pal Bill Gates ,,,, value profits for the rich more than the lives of the poor.

    Good ol 5 eyes western values for you ,,,, they should fuck off and work for one of the other ‘4 right eyes’.

    Strangely those Human rights degenerates ,,,, The Russians and Chinese ,,,, Have shown more solidarity and humanity towards developing or poor countries citizens ,,, than the EU or our 5 right eyes exclusive English speaking club.

    Just like it was Russia who initiated the elimination of small-pox ( through vaccines and the UN /WHO), from the world.,,,,,,

    I now wonder if our MFAT was against that too.

    • I forgot the link showing countries positions,,,, in favor or against,,,, waiving patent rights to enable a world wide collaboration effort to fight a virus / epidemic.

      Greed and Western ideology with our capitalist competition model ….. seems to have made our Governments more stupid and less capable than a virus without a brain. ,,,,

      See for yourself s ,,, https://www.msf.org/countries-obstructing-covid-19-patent-waiver-must-allow-negotiations
      Dumb ScoMo Aussie dick heads ,,,,, Bone headed Boris with his Tory herd mentality ,,,, wishy washy wanky canadians probably waiting to see which way the usa tells them to jump.

      NZ is a green tick and for doing the right thing ,,,,,,, unless Biden forgets what he said but remembers who the democrat donors are ( long term memory is the last to go with Alzheimer’s) ,,,,

      Because if the Usa reverses position ,,,, or just drags the chain for prolonged profit gouging ,,,, then our MFAT Vichy staffers will once more follow their true leader.

  2. Yes the more people wake up to the fact, that from an independent persons view point, we look more like the bad guys than do the Russians and Chinese….. NOT to forget they also do horrid things to their people, but so do we AND SOME MORE, BUT PURELY so the rich can have another Ferrari or private jet.
    Shameful and NOT ‘on my behalf’ please.
    As Ringo say, peace brother, or John, give peace a chance !!!

  3. “Police persecute medicinal cannabis suppliers – this isn’t the kindness or reform we were promised!”
    No. But it’s exactly what I’d expect from our new owners. The conservative christian ‘merican deep state right wing super riche putting the squeeze on what ever it is that pretends to be our government.
    We can have booze though, so that’s something I guess. We can stay home and dull the senses with an addictive killer substance but we’re not allowed to eat/smoke/vape a harmless herb which will help you rest peacefully and think latterly while socialising harmoniously. Well, we can’t have that now, can we?
    And a wee, small word to Judge toogood who’s just sent two guys inside for 20 + years each for importing a huge amount of meth. You fucking idiot? Do you not read? Do you pop on your wee tin hat and pray to Jesus instead?
    Have you heard of ‘Portugal’ ? It’s a place. Yes it is. Oregon? Decriminalised all street drugs? The reason for that was because they came to understand that the misuse of street drugs should be a heath issue. NOT a criminal justice issue dumbass. But if street drugs are illegal they’re a tradable criminal commodity.
    It’s the terminally stupid who’re educated well beyond their intelligence like self-aggrandising toogood who bray like manipulative donkeys to the bloodthirsty moron Kiwi while holding back societal progression.
    The They, the Them, love to listen to and to read about societal dysfunction and the more gory the better. Reading about what can only be described as the plain and simple on-going and enduring two decade torture of two desperado human beings is enough to get them aroused and on the march in self-righteous and woefully ignorant indignation. “ ‘cause drugs are bad an’ that…? Maybe tha’s why the misses fucked awf wif th’ kids after I gave her that little smack ? I mean, I wasn’t that pissed. It was late, I admit and I did drove home from the pub but to leave me and take the kids? Is a bit rough mate. At least it wasn’t P. Those two pricks deserve to go to jail. “

  4. I’m sorry. I can’t help myself.
    This on rnz this morning.
    Are these links on-topic? You decide.

    “Reserve Bank awaiting housing market changes to take effect”
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/441952/reserve-bank-awaiting-housing-market-changes-to-take-effect

    Bank of New Zealand’s half-year cash profit rises to $660 million
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/441960/bank-of-new-zealand-s-half-year-cash-profit-rises-to-660-million

    Axle’s family was homeless before moving to Tolaga Bay, mum reveals
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/442020/axle-s-family-was-homeless-before-moving-to-tolaga-bay-mum-reveals

  5. One more, one more thing…
    It’s been my experience that the police can use discretionary oversight when it comes to Pot.
    So maybe that means the cops are being nagged to hassle smokers and suppliers and if so, then who’s doing the nagging? What crafty right wing God bothering politician might be doing that?
    Indeed, any member of the public can make a formal complaint which the police, and the police, as is their responsibility, must go forth and bust an ass or two. Is this merely a natzo tactic to scoop up the pro pot people dopy andy little dropped overboard by coming in to rescue the children from the hoards of dope fiends hanging around schools getting kids hooked on the devils weed? I wish they’d a hung around my wee rural primary school then. I might have been beaten less and taught more.
    Could this simply be an abstract tactic hatched by the natzo’s to discredit Labour by coming out as the champions of the Plant? I reckon the natzo’s would do anything to get re elected and picking up that over 40% who voted “YES please Mr ! Pot for me and my sister ? ” would be a good set of numbers to try and woo.

  6. Tougher cannabis laws are coming through – aka roadside cannabis testing..

    As saliva tests return positive results even after a week has gone by, it’s hard to see how this would NOT be abused.

    Is there any evidence cannabis impairs driving? I think not.

  7. Every one from the politicians down who still oppose cannabis law reform in New Zealand, for whatever reason, are unconscionable human being and should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. Not sure why Cannabis and kindness are being linked. They are not connected.

    The attitude of the Police toward weed will take many years to change. Last year’s absolute bullshit referendum has ensured the status quo with them will continue for some time. Easy arrests and convictions for the blue army are the priority. Should we connect that with kindness? Hell no!. Should we blame Ardern? Hell no! So who and what is to blame? I’m utterly convinced we need to look no further than the diabolical referendum as the culprit.

    We have a system that allowed outrageous lies to be presented as facts by vested interest and go unchallenged. The extremely well-funded campaign against cannabis was a corruption of our democracy and set progress back two decades. For that to unfold in a forward-thinking country like NZ is a very sad reflection. That was the first part of the problem. The second and equally important culprit was the way those in charge of the yes vote handled their campaign. It’s difficult to imagine how they could have got things more wrong than they did. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The yes vote had the lead early on in the lead up to the vote day but sat on their hands while the no vote mounted their BS campaign. The no vote understood the importance of advertising. They sold very powerful messages on the TV of our roads being even worse than they are now. Showing cars upside down allegedly as a result of a driver who had used cannabis. I can’t recall such powerful advertising when alcohol laws were being relaxed. The no vote also stated we would have a generation of young people walking around like fucking zombies after smoking large amounts of cannabis every day. This was the butchering and a total misrepresentation of reality. The message to people who don’t know any better was very powerful and changed the numbers from yes to no. Meanwhile, the yes campaign did nothing. By the time they acted it was too late. If that wasn’t bad enough, the method they used to sell the yes vote was extremely ineffective and lame. It was too little way too late to use quiet anecdotal stories to combat what the no vote had sold.

    Let’s not blame the lack of kindness or Ardern. Point the finger of blame where it belongs.

  9. Next election in 2023 will be closer than the 2020 election, due to this type of issue, with many Kiwis over the anti-cannabis – anti-people approach of the Government, lack of housing, Covid vaccines very slowly being dosed out, so fore, and so fore….
    The solution could be to make the politicians come, and earn your vote, by refusing to support the Government (voting for them in 2023), until they support the 1 million Kiwis who voted for Cannabis in the referendum (who were mostly Labour/Greens voters too) by changing the laws…if they (the Government) do not support their voters, do not support the Government.

  10. There seems to be a theme in govt – if you’re poor, sick or disabled we arent going to do a damn thing to help you, but if you’re rich, here have a license, buy some of this product, own a bunch of property or underpay your workers, dont worry we will turn a blind eye.
    But, if you’re poor, underclass, sick, disabled, look out we will still send the police after you.
    Just need to look at the way the govt is handling poverty, housing and disability outside the cannabis sphere to see the govt thinking isnt just cannabis related, its about how to treat the people at the bottom.
    Im done with those narcissistic wankers, they arent in politics to help everybody, just rich people, Not worth voting for and not worth following the stupid laws they create.

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