|Graphic: Greencross Auckland
Pro-cannabis group Auckland Greencross has endorsed the New Zealand Law Commission’s recommendations that clinical trials of cannabis are undertaken and that bona fide users of medicinal marijuana become exempt from prosecution.
Stephen McIntyre, spokesman for the medical cannabis patients’ support group, on Tuesday said both proposals would find favor with the general public, as two out of three New Zealanders support allowing cannabis for medical use.
“Sixty five percent of submissions to this report — a figure consistent with online polling — favored the establishment of a scheme allowing people suffering from chronic, debilitating or terminal conditions to legally access and use herbal cannabis,” McIntyre said.
“Most medical users of cannabis, alongside the serious condition they’re forced to cope with on a daily basis, have the added stress of finding reliable access to quality medicine from a trustworthy source, compounded by fear of being caught by the police,” McIntyre said.
|Photo: Stephen McIntyre
|Stephen McIntyre, Greencross Auckland: “We know that for our members cannabis is the best medicine around”
”Auckland Greencross wants to see an exemption for both arrest and prosecution given to all bone fide patients once they have been given the approval of their doctor or specialist to use cannabis therapeutically,” he said.
According to McIntyre, Auckland Greencross members must have their doctors’ support before being issued with ID cards as evidence to that fact.
“A national database could be established along similar lines allowing patients to possess ID proving that they can legitimately possess cannabis for their own use and are accordingly free from criminalization,” McIntyre said.
While there is abundant overseas evidence showing the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis, according to McIntyre, he said he welcomes local clinical trials provided they speed up the process of legalizing the medical use of cannabis in New Zealand.
“We know that for our members cannabis is the best medicine around — preferable in both efficacy and absence of unwanted side-effects to the opiates and other drugs they’re prescribed,” McIntyre said, “and that many of them would be willing to participate in trials to establish that.”
“Ultimately Auckland Greencross welcomes the day when cannabis is available on prescription in New Zealand and medical grade crops are licensed and regulated in the same way as other controlled drugs,” McIntyre said.