Marijuana Media: New date for Auckland J Day; Medicinal cannabis study confirms benefits; NZ ships weed-sniffing dogs to the Pacific; Minnesota 23rd US state to legalise cannabis


Kia ora! this week on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, with hosts Jonny and Corey from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore.

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NZ medicinal cannabis study: 96% report improvements

Results of a new study from researchers at the University of Otago, Victoria University and the University of Auckland have renewed calls for medicinal products to be publicly funded, with around 96% of patients on them reporting benefits in their medical conditions.

The study canvassed 213 people who were taking cannabis for therapeutic reasons, about their experiences of taking it and collect data on the quality, efficacy and effects it had on them. According to Newshub, it helped 96% of those with pain, 97% of those with difficulty sleeping, and 98% with mental health issues, and 46 percent overall said they had been able to reduce or entirely stop their medical prescription.

Dunedin School of Medicine’s bioethics department, study co-author Dr Geoff Noller (a former exec member of NORML) said the study reflects several other studies in Aotearoa that therapeutic cannabis had a positive effect on pain relief, sleeplessness and anxiety, and an important finding in the study was some participants either decreased or stopped their prescribed medicines, many of which were opioid-based. Dr Noller said the majority of participants were sourcing cannabis through illicit means “due to barriers of sourcing legally”.

According to Stuff, two participants told researchers the pain and sleep relief literally saved their lives: “I was ready to finish my life before that. I had had enough,” one said.

No medicinal cannabis products are funded or subsidised, but according to the Stuff report there is some indication this may change. While Pharmac declined a funding application for Sativex in 2015, that application remains active and new evidence could still be considered. Pharmac’s chief medical officer Dr David Hughes said that, to date, nine people have been provided funded medicinal cannabis based on exceptional clinical circumstances criteria.

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Cannabis voters up for grabs

The Legalise Cannabis Party is showing in polls at 1% (e.g. the most recent 1News/Kantar political poll). Could they be in the weedmaker role? MPs weighed up decriminalisation after the narrow referendum loss, but with no pressure bearing on them they have seemingly done little about it. Events in Australia, where the Legalise Cannabis Party has been elected to three state upper houses, show cannabis voters are a force to be reckoned with. Half the country want full legalisation and two thirds would be OK with decriminalisation. Who will act to pick up these votes?

NZ taxpayers subsidising drug sniffing dogs in the Pacific Islands

Fiji’s NZ-funded Pacific Detector Dog Unit has seized 17 kg of cannabis, among other drugs, cash and firearms. The Pacific Detector Dog Programme is supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs. The National Coordinator of NZ Police Dogs, Inspector Todd Southall, recently attended a “very powerful” forum in Fiji. New Zealand pays for PI officers to be trained here, and provides dogs to the Islands. The program began in 2018 and is up for renewal this year – hence the publicity hailing it a success.

Worldwide weed

In Canada, health officials announced a world first with health warnings to appear on individual cigarettes. No word yet on whether that will include messages on rolling papers, or joints purchased from Canada’s legal cannabis stores.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has signed legislation legalizing the use, sale, and home-cultivation of cannabis by adults. NORML reported this victory is especially satisfying as the result of years of grassroots activism by consumers and stakeholders, including Minnesota NORML and its founder – who himself was once a victim of the state’s prohibitionist policies.

From August 1 adults will be legally permitted to purchase (up to two ounces from state-licensed retailers and/or 8 grams of concentrate and 800 milligrams worth of edible products), home-cultivate (up to eight plants, no more than four of which can be mature) and possess (up to 2 pounds in private) cannabis.

On that date, officials will also begin the process of righting past wrongs by expunging the records of those Minnesotans with marijuana-related convictions on their records. Minnesotans are hardly alone, with twenty-three US states and the District of Columbia having now repealed prohibition.

With elections later this year, New Zealand has an opportunity to join them – if enough of us demand it.

Coming up:

  • Substance Testing @ the hemp store is on Saturday 10th June, 11am-3pm
  • J Day has a new date! Postponed from May, the 33rd edition will now be Saturday 2nd December 2023, after the election and the beginning of summer.


Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts bFM Drive’s Jonny and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at (or via iTunes / RSS feed). Thanks to The Hemp Store!



  1. I guess it will be legalised at some point – in the hands of big Pharma and hideously expensive. Why can’t those who need it grow their own? Wouldn’t that take the pressure off the criminal trade?

  2. Chris – Thank you again…shame NZ is behind the USA on the Cannabis issue…The USA experience so far is extremely positive, despite the alcohol industry funded so called research

  3. Chris – Thank you again…shame NZ is behind the USA on the Cannabis issue…The USA experience so far is extremely positive, despite the alcohol industry funded so called research


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