New Zealand Parliament Will Debate Medical Cannabis Bill

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It has only been one week since doctors in New Zealand were given permission to finally prescribe CBD for patients who need it, and now, the government is getting ready to debate a full-on medical marijuana bill.

The private members’ bill thankfully has broad support from a few political parties in the Kiwi nation, and it was chosen yesterday as the next matter up for debate. If adopted, the legislation would amend New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs Act to allow for a medical cannabis exemption.

The bill would permit those with a qualifying medical condition and a prescription to cultivate, possess, and use cannabis as well as its related products. The exemption could also authorize an immediate relative or another nominated individual to grow cannabis by proxy if the patient is unable to do so.

The illnesses outlined as a catalyst for medical cannabis in New Zealand include any condition that is terminal, chronic immune or nervous system disorders, and chronic back or other pain, to name a few.

The bill has support from New Zealand political groups such as the Labour Party, Maori Party, and the Act New Zealand party. The legislation was submitted by Green Party spokesperson Julie Anne Genter, who said she felt “incredibly lucky and happy” to have it chosen for debate at this time.

“I think it’s well past time that New Zealand’s outdated drug laws get up-to-date,” said Genter. “There are chronically and terminally ill people who are suffering and could get relief, but they are made to be criminals.”

Genter also commented on last week’s go-ahead for doctors to prescribe CBD, saying that the change did not go far enough.

New Zealand’s seemingly breakneck speed on debating this bill after their CBD decision, is a drastic change for the country. While neighboring Australia created various cannabis reforms, introduced a medical marijuana program, cultivated their own crops, and developed a robust research sector, the New Zealand government dragged its feet on the issue.

No doubt this change of pace will be refreshing for patients who need medical marijuana now but are forced to turn to the black market to get it.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.

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