It seems the issue of medical cannabis has caused deep divisions in Grey Power in New Zealand.
Grey Power is an advocacy organization focusing on the welfare and well-being of citizens aged 50+.
The Otamatea chapter of the group recently voted unanimously in support of legalising cannabis for medicinal use and started a petition that was circulated to the other 32 chapters in the country.
“None of our [members] actually takes it yet, but we want to be able to take it,” said Otamatea Grey Power president Beverley Aldridge.
“We’ve seen our loved ones – you know, family and friends – dying in extreme pain and we don’t want to go through that.”
However, it appears the petition and medical cannabis itself does not have the support of the Grey Power Federation governing body.
“We get all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas popping up from time to time but we are very careful about who and what we support nationally,” said National president Tom O’Connor on Wednesday.
“We don’t have a formal policy on the legalisation of marijuana and we are probably unlikely to anytime soon. The reality is that we don’t know enough about the substance.”
The story doesn’t end there.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has accused the Federation of attempting to censor its membership.
“It is obvious that Beverley Aldridge has done her own research and come to her own conclusions about the science around medical cannabis. Mr O’Connor should be standing by his original statement that local chapters were entitled to take on their own causes,” said Abe Grey, Party President.
Furthermore, Mr. Grey stated Mr O’Connor made various calls to cannabis law reform organisations yesterday, threatening to “go to war with you lot of degenerate cannabis people”.
Given the amount of passion this issue seems to have stirred up in Grey Power, we may be hearing more about it.
Currently in New Zealand, the Minister or Ministry of Health must authorise the medicinal use of cannabis products and an application must be made by a medical specialist on behalf of the patient. As a result, applications have been few and far between.
New Zealand has previously stated it would likely follow Australia’s lead on medicinal marijuana.