NZ Medical Cannabis Bill Submissions Close

New Zealand Medical Cannabis Amendment Bill
Image: futurefilmworks

Submissions relating to New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs (Medical Cannabis) Amendment Bill closed yesterday – and there are concerns that some who could have made a valuable contribution haven’t as a result of fear.

The Bill was tabled in New Zealand’s Parliament in December last year. Last month, NZ’s Health Committee called for submissions addressing its contents.

NZ Herald reports medical cannabis advocacy groups in the country have found it challenging to encourage  members to lodge submissions as some are afraid the police will use the information to arrest them. Submissions will be publicly released and published on the NZ Parliament website.

Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ’s (MCANZ) Shane Le Brun says around 20% of the group’s members appear to have been put off by the situation.

MCANZ has previously stated the bill doesn’t go far enough and last month released a “plug-and-play” policy it wants lawmakers to adopt.

Mr. Le Brun called for NZ police to publicly state submitters won’t be targeted. However, even if that had happened just prior to the deadline, it may have been a case of too little, too late.

Others aren’t so shy – particularly those with related ventures of course.

For example, a company with a strong vested interest in seeing medical cannabis policy done right is Hikurangi Group, parent company of Hikurangi Hemp. It is aiming to be the country’s first medical cannabis producer, the first to conduct a clinical trial and the first to sell a product with NZ government approval.

In its submission, Hikurangi Hemp has called for (among other things):

  • cannabidiol (CBD) to be treated the same as other non-THC cannabinoids, and medicines should be controlled by the level of THC they contain, not other non-intoxicating cannabinoids.
  • the law to allow export in order to enable a viable domestic medical cannabis industry providing affordable medicines.
  • people with cannabis convictions being able to work in the industry if they are properly supported and supervised.
  • anyone with any condition considered treatable with cannabis and with the explicit professional support of their doctor, plus any person who supplies a specified cannabis product to the patient, should be immune from prosecution.

Other main recommendations made by Hikurangi Group/Hemp can be viewed here.