Legal Medical Cannabis Closer In New Zealand

Jancinda Ardern and Julie Anne Genter
Image: Jancinda Ardern (L) | Julie Anne Genter (R)

Under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s new government looks set to make good on a pledge regarding medical marijuana – and soon.

The country’s new government has been formed as the result of a coalition between Labour, the Green Party and NZ First.

As we mentioned in September, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is a strong supporter of medical marijuana. Among the Labour’s 100 day commitments is the introduction of legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain.

Green Party Health Spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter, who will also be an Associate Minister for Health, stated in an interview with Marijuana.com the government intends seeing that pre-election commitment through and said she is hopeful it will pick up her Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill and progress it.

Implementation of Ms. Genter’s bill would enable the use of any cannabis plant, preparation, or derivative by a patient with the support of a doctor’s recommendation, as well as allow patients to cultivate their own plants. That may be a little more flexible than what Labour is thinking.

Ms Genter also recently weighed in on the issue of cannabis crusader and  “green fairy” Rose Renton facing cannabis charges, stating it was “absolutely absurd and wrong“.

“It should not be illegal to grow plants and make oils, tinctures and baking that reduces pain, helps people sleep, and has fewer side effects than legal prescription meds,” she stated.

Jacinda Ardern also wants a national discussion on legalizing cannabis for adult use, with view to a national referendum on the issue.

A confidence & supply agreement struck with the Greens states a condition of a “referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 general election”.

Currently, access to medical cannabis preparations is very restricted in New Zealand, although restrictions were eased somewhat on the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabidiol in June this year. Access to medications containing the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol are still subject to a long and complex approval process.