Thursday, 2 July 2009

Medical marijuana patients told to go to hell [update 2]

med mary Last night New Zealand MPs voted overwhelmingly against a law change that would allow patients to use cannabis for specific medicinal purposes.  They thought they knew the interests of these patients better than the patients and their doctors -- and knew the issue better than legislators in Canada, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and in fourteen states in the US, all places where medical marijuana is legal. They told those patients essentially to go to hell, because that describes the pain that some are in.

     The Green Party bill [says TV3 News] would have allowed doctors in New Zealand to prescribe cannabis for 22 approved illnesses and eligible patients would have been given an identification card allowing them to grow, possess and consume marijuana.
ACT MP Heather Roy says that the stance is supported by science.
"There's very good scientific evidence to show that some medical conditions are improved by the use of cannabis," she says.

Evidence that would have been presented at Select Committee, but 86 MPs, a clear majority said with their vote that they didn’t want to even hear.

ACT were all for, including their conservatives. So too were the Greens, whose bill this was. For Maori, all but one were against. Labour was split. And the Nats were all against – very revealing that as a conscience vote not a single Nat broke ranks for the bill. Not one apparently had enough of a conscience to even cross the floor.

5655_134687272456_625417456_3457679_3001116_n Here’s who Voted For:
Ardern, Jacinda      Labour Party, List
Beaumont, Carol      Labour Party, List
Boscawen, John      ACT New Zealand, List
Bradford, Sue      Green Party, List
Burns, Brendon      Labour Party, Christchurch Central
Chadwick, Steve      Labour Party, List
Chauvel, Charles      Labour Party, List
Cunliffe, David      Labour Party, New Lynn
Delahunty, Catherine      Green Party, List
Douglas, Roger      ACT New Zealand, List
Dyson, Ruth      Labour Party, Port Hills
Fenton, Darien      Labour Party, List
Fitzsimons, Jeanette      Green Party, List
Garrett, David      ACT New Zealand, List
Graham, Kennedy      Green Party, List
Hague, Kevin      Green Party, List
Harawira, Hone      Maori Party, Te Tai Tokerau
Hide, Rodney      ACT New Zealand, Epsom
Hipkins, Chris     Labour Party, Rimutaka
Hodgson, Pete     Labour Party, Dunedin North
Jones, Shane      Labour Party, List
Kedgley, Sue      Green Party, List
King, Annette      Labour Party, Rongotai
Lees-Galloway, Iain      Labour Party, Palmerston North
Locke, Keith     Green Party, List
Mackey, Moana      Labour Party, List
Moroney, Sue      Labour Party, List
Norman, Russel      Green Party, List
Pillay, Lynne      Labour Party, List
Prasad, Rajen      Labour Party, List
Roy, Heather      ACT New Zealand, List
Sepuloni, Carmel      Labour Party, List
Street, Maryan      Labour Party, List
Turei, Metiria      Green Party, List
Twyford, Phil      Labour Party, List

Metiria Turei, whose bill this was, wrote in support of her bill in a recent Free Radical.  Here’s what she had to say.

Medicinal Cannabis Vote Coming Soon!
by Metiria Turei, MP

med mary 2     Compassion for ill New Zealanders is a core New Zealand value. Many campaigns for legislative or policy change have been about supporting and protecting the ill. My campaign enabling doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients supports thousands of ill New Zealanders who may benefit from this option, relieving the pain of (for just a few examples) nail-patella syndrome, muscle spasms, phantom limb pain, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and the wasting syndrome from HIV/AIDS.
    The world is increasingly recognising the value of medicinal use of cannabis. Fourteen US states now allow medicinal use, with similar systems in Canada, Spain and the UK. New South Wales is developing a four-year trial for medicinal cannabis. International health organisations supporting medicinal cannabis include the American Medical Association, US Institute of Medicine, Federation of American Scientists, the WHO and the UK Royal College of Physicians. All these jurisdictions and organisations base their support on evidence from highly regarded international medical research teams and institutions.
    There is a process for medicinal use in New Zealand which has never been used because it is simply unworkable. The application must be made by your GP, involving extensive negotiations with both the Ministry of Health and Customs. The patient must purchase the pharmaceutical version of medicinal cannabis, which is extremely expensive. One constituent, who has a very low tolerance for cannabis, was quoted a price of $300 per week for the pharmaceutical cannabinoid preparation Sativex. In effect, ill New Zealanders, especially those who have the least resources or are the most ill, are denied access to potential relief.
    My Bill proposes a system whereby patients grow their own cannabis and are registered with both the Ministry of Health and local police. It is the most accessible and cheapest model for ill New Zealanders. (There are other models that have greater and lesser degrees of control, many of which are used in other jurisdictions. I am open to the discussion on those other models.)
    My campaign enabling doctors to prescribe cannabis is based on medical evidence. Research from the UK, Israel, Germany, Canada, USA and numerous universities and medical associations demonstrates cannabis can provide relief to some patients where mainstream pharmaceuticals have failed. In New Zealand, the NZ Medical Association supports research into the benefits of cannabis for medicinal use, and the NZ Pharmaceutical Guild told the 2001 Cannabis Inquiry that it considers it perfectly possible to safely distribute legal medicinal cannabis.
    Our proposal adds cannabis to the tool box of medical interventions available to doctors. To hear more from the medical profession the Greens conducted a survey of doctors in 2003 to find out exactly what sort of professional support there is for medical use. The results were revealing, showing medicinal cannabis has been widely discussed or considered by doctors and/or patients. The potential use of medicinal cannabis is very high. Doctors were asked to rate their knowledge of medicinal cannabis: we found that those with a high level of knowledge were more likely to consider prescribing cannabis. 6% said that they have recommended their patients try cannabis; 10% said they currently had patients who would benefit from using cannabis; and 32% said they would consider prescribing cannabis if it were legal to do so.
    Thirty-two percent demonstrates a “silent epidemic” of ill New Zealanders searching for alternative relief that the pharmaceutical industry simply cannot provide. Their silence should be cause for shame amongst those who make decisions about laws that prohibits this relief. They are silenced because they fear prosecution – and it is a real fear. Our courts have sent to jail for cannabis use people with very serious medical conditions for which the jails are simply not equipped -- and because these people have no other form of relief, they are by their very nature repeat offenders, attracting longer jail sentences. Regardless of one’s view of recreational use of cannabis, medicinal use is clearly a question of compassion.
    There are a number of arguments against medicinal cannabis. Many are worried about the effects of smoking. Many are concerned about controlling dosage. And many are worried about enforcement of the law. Let’s address those in turn.
    There are concerns smoked cannabis will contribute to lung damage -- this was a real concern of doctors surveyed. But the health risks of smoking are meaningless for patients with terminal conditions, especially if the drug relieves suffering during the remaining stages of their lives.
    For non-terminal patients there are many different forms of ingestion with few negative health effects. One constituent of mine makes a tea; others use vaporisers, tinctures or even massage oil rubbed on damaged muscles or stumps. With good information, doctors can work through the various options for ingestion that work best for the patient. And in terminal cases, compassion has to be the dominant concern.
    As for the question of dosage, patients say they do not want the euphoric effects, but rather to simply be free of the perpetual pain that confines their lives. GPs work out dosage issues all the time with other pharmaceutical drugs, and with appropriate information can do that with medicinal cannabis as well.
    The third major concern is continued law enforcement against recreational marijuana use, a real concern that should be taken very seriously. Some are concerned about pharmacy break-ins, for example, but the NZ Pharmaceutical Guild say they can manage the storage and distribution of any legal medicinal cannabis product – and in this respect, medicinal cannabis can be compared to any drugs or medicines. The police already have systems for managing misuse of drugs such as barbiturates, sleeping pills, and pain medications such as morphine and anti-depressants, some of which – unlike the case with cannabis -- are fatal if misused.
    In New Zealand there is increasing research on medicinal marijuana. Otago University research for example explores the use of cannabis in minimising damage caused by strokes, as well as in pain relief. More New Zealand-based pharmacological research is one benefit of freeing up medicinal marijuana. If we can enable a doctor-directed process rather than a ministerial one, researchers will have greater incentives to engage in that research, and patients will have another treatment available to them.

What she neglected to say is that this is a clear-cut issue of personal freedom.

And what she neglected to do was campaign for her bill.  But now, with this vote, this issue of personal freedom has been put back years.

UPDATE 1: Plenty of reaction around the place, the pithiest perhaps being Russell Brown who says, “It's hard not to see MPs' rejection of Metiria Turei's medical cannabis bill as the result of a desperate desire to avoid talking about the issue, rather than a genuine exercise of conscience.”  It sure does.

UPDATE 2: Alright, this from Danyl at Dim Post is pretty pithy too:

It’s a measure of the hysteria about drugs that we can have ‘medicinal heroin’ (diacetylmorphine, or other morphine derivatives) prescribed by Doctors but medicinal cannabis would simply be beyond the pale! And with the highest rates of cannabis abuse in the world I think its safe to say the drug is already present in mainstream New Zealand society.


  1. The "medical cannabis" campaign is all bullshit, it's an excuse for quasi legalization.

    Why in the 21st century where humanity has reached unprecedented levels of prosperity, longevity and comfort are we having to resort to drugs and booze in increasing levels.

    Why the need to get stoned or plastered ?

  2. "Why the need to get stoned or plastered ?"

    Or to turn the question on its head, why shouldn't you be allowed to get stoned or plastered. When you are preventing someone from doing something with their own body - the onus should be on you to prove why they should be denied this right rather than the other way around.

  3. ..ignoring your little diversion as to whether such activities are legal or not. Again, why the need to get stoned or plastered ?

    Try and answer the question, I'd like to know why.

  4. Why get stoned? Because I enjoy it. Because I choose to do it. That's the only reason one needs.

  5. Why in the 21st century, where humanity has reached unprecedented levels of prosperity, longevity and comfort are some people resorting to forcing other people to obey decisions and orders they don't necessarily want to accept?

    Why the need to force others to do what you want?


  6. "..ignoring your little diversion as to whether such activities are legal or not. Again, why the need to get stoned or plastered ?

    Everyoen will ahve their own answer.

    For some - its relaxation, for some its pain relief, for some is pleasure.

    Regardless - its none of your fucking business, and none of the government's either.

    Why do people want to own a car?
    Why do people want to go to a church?
    Why to people want to jerk off?

    The key word is "want" not need. Its got nothing to do with need in many cases.

    Though, for med pot, thereis often a very clear need. Pain relief, vision impairment, hunger, whatever - all things where cannbis has a very clear medical benfit. And it shouldn't be up to you, or anyone else to deny this to people.

    These are all issues that some sectors of society take issue with and perhaps would love to ban. Is it up to the person committing the act to justifty it, or the person pushing the ban?

  7. Also - not all applications of cannabis involve "getting stoned" but anon is probably too bloody ignorant to understand that and probably thinks that the only way to consume cannabis involves a bong, a bag of pretzels and a dazed and confused movie.

  8. That was a very good article by Metiria Turei, although the points were obviously lost on the first faceless commenter.

    Leighton Smith ignored two of my submissions this morning:

    1. in support of the F&S review re respect for property rights, and

    2. in support of Turei's private member's bill re respect for personal freedom -- not to mention its humanitarian aspect.

    And regarding the latter, I'll put the same question to you, Faceless:

    How could you look somebody in the eye and prevent them from accessing the only product that provides pain relief for their particular condition?

    And further, when their actions (ie taking the product) have nothing to do with you, whatsoever.

    Because I'm buggered if I could. It's abusive, if not downright sadistic.

  9. Oh, and kudos to the ACT MP's while I think of it.

    We're harsh on their conservative members, so credit when due, eh.

    Richard M: I realise you're flat out working -- unlike many in this godforsaken socialist backwater -- but a short press release in support of Turei, and from a doctor to boot, might be just the ticket?

  10. The irony here is that a mate of mine got found not guilty of possession with intent to supply, purely on evidence given by his doctor that his pot smoking was the only reason he wasn't dosing himself up on high-strength morphine all the time, and it allowed him to function as normally as he'll ever be able to. Now that he's 'on the radar' and can't get away with growing his own plants, he's back on the morphine. We actually had the nerve to think that the outcome of his trial was a sign of change. At least society's safe though.

    Luckily for me, as a recreational consumer, I can go down to the shops and legally buy a bag of Mexican Tripping Weed that will lead to full-on hallucinations, and I can also buy herbal blends that are similar to marijuana (but just not the same). I can also go down the road and help myself to as much Datura as I want as it's growing wild - never mind the fact it's one of the most dangerous and intense drugs around.

    Marijuana remains illegal because... well, um... we're too scared to admit we were so blindly stupid to make it illegal in the first place? If the nation had any damn brains we'd be exporting medical grade marijuana to those places wise enough to allow it.

  11. Speaking of Marijuana...

  12. Can't see the forest for the trees. Drug legalisation is an extremely peripheral issue. On a scale of one to 10 maybe 0.01, with taxation and the size of government being 10.

    Pfft, just blocking out the big picture with this kind of emotionally driven static is why the Libs can't get any political traction.

    I thought there was going to be a review of Libertarian strategies after the poor showing in Mt. Albert. Haven't seen anything so far. How about Richard McGrath steps down as leader for a start?

  13. How about you step down as commenter first?

  14. So who is accountable?

  15. Redbaiter, personal choice and freedom are right at the core of the party's values; what did you expect them to say, you moron?

    I'm struggling to understand how you type and breathe simultaneously. Or do you just hold your breath and type really fast?

  16. I'm struggling to understand when you lot are going to grow up.

    With a vote that has fallen from 8000 to 1000 and a result in Mt Albert that was an embarrassment, I wonder when you are going to really do something about liberty rather than posture as being concerned with the issue..

    Seems to me its all about narcissism and ego rather than liberty.

  17. I think this is a good result. I'm all for de-illegalization, but the way to do it is simply to overturn the laws against marijuana, not to make new ones. It's never a good idea to support making new laws.

  18. Decriminalisation (or whatever you'd like to call it) is a policy position that is consistent with the core values that the party stands for. It may not be a vote winner with a certain section of the population at large, but those people are unlikely to be Libz voters anyway. From a marketing standpoint, I think the current handling of it is appropriate, where it doesn't get a lot of focus, but is still there.

    Red, since you don't appear to be a Libz voter anyway, I don't see why you get so annoyed with them not doing what you'd want them to.

  19. Redbaiter - yes the Libz result in Mt Albert was disappointing, but I'm staggered the mainstream media never picked up on the degree of voter apathy/rejection (52% of Mt Albert voters people didn't bother to turn up) - THAT'S an embarrassment for the two major parties.

  20. It's ironic that the people most vehemently opposed to cannabis legalisation are the ones with the least experience with it.

  21. Red, those comments are unworthy of you.

    It's silly to harp on about the numbers, per se. It has been pointed out -- ad nauseum -- that the voting number drop is irrelevant in itself.

    Why? Because there's no way those people have changed their philosophical perspective .. how the hell could they? Once you renounce big govt, there's no way back.

    Instead, they've shifted their vote to National and ACT to, as they see it, combat the large socialist vote. Which is huge after nine years of Clarkism.

    But back to the issue of legalising medical marijuana.

    It might be a smaller issue in the greater scheme of things. But that's not the point. It's a matter of freedom.

    I caught a bit of "Letterman" last night -- normally can't stand him -- but stayed tuned because he was interviewing Michael J Fox who's been battling Parkinsons Disease for some years. Fox was praising the recent decision to overturn the ban on stem cell research. I believe he's one of the largest private contributors to PD research on the planet.

    It was a refreshing change to hear somebody openly say that he respected that while some people have genuine concerns, for many the matter is simply political.

    "We need to remove politics from science", he said.

    And health, education, commerce and welfare and everything else it pokes its nose in, I thought.

    As well as this MM issue. The tree is very much part of the woods.

  22. "Instead, they've shifted their vote to National and ACT to, as they see it, combat the large socialist vote. "

    Well maybe, but I doubt it. Most people with a brain know that National are not going to bring any relief from socialism.

    My complaint is that the Libz once had a message that resonated with NZ's man in the street. Now they don't. That support should have been built on. Instead it has been frittered way. And nobody will accept accountability for this strategic failure.

    I believe this failure to resonate as they once did is not down to voting for National, but rather the Libz doctrinal objectivist attitudes, (the use of Ayn Rand as a kind of "Jesus" and her writings as a biblical device), and concerns with issues that are not really important to those who sincerely desire relief from the predations of big government.

    This is down to how the present leadership thinks. I saw Richard's list of important issues a few weeks ago and it just made me cringe.

    Its not working. They should resign. Any other party leader with any pride would have done so long ago.

    And that's about it. There's more I could say, (to explain my stance) but the host doesn't like it, so I have to leave it at that.

  23. Come on Red: you know that and I know that about the Nats, but you just had to *listen* to people last year; they were *desperate* to get rid of Clark and John Key had a nice smile. Which is about all he has.

    Talking about "accepting accountability" re the Libz? FFS! I'd *love* somebody else .. a thousand somebody elses .. to do what I and the other guys do, but I don't see many people stepping up to the plate, nor can I blame them.

    Because we're all too bloody busy enough as it is, unlike the socialist arses who work for the bloody state, for whom we're forced to pay while they spread the red word.

    So, for the umpteenth time, instead of whinging about it, how about helping out?

    It's not as if you have anywhere else to go politically, otherwise you'd be there already.

    Unless you set up on your own of course, in which case, be my guest. And then you'll see what a thankless task it is.

    I think you choose to forget that we don't want to have to do this. The goal is to make the major players remember the essence of liberty, so we can bugger off and go home.

    The good news is that I'm hearing talk of the US Republicans, especially the younger ones, starting to rediscover the wisdom & morality of small govt, so hallelujah.

    Maybe they're not 100% stupid after all. And if the penny drops there ...

    Good night. I need a drink. ;)

  24. Richard McGrath4 Jul 2009, 00:21:00

    Fear not, RB; three weekends from now a group of Libz are meeting to try and sort out the party's future strategy. If a change of leadership seems to be the way ahead, I'll happily pass the torch to the next person.

  25. Sus

    You wrote, "Red, those comments are unworthy of you." Unfortunately they're not. They are the typical ravings of that ignorant toss pot! Red is unworthy of this blog really. For a start he's a small "c" conservative. He harps on about smallish government but says little about other people's freedom and recognises even less. And that is the main point to note about him- he is only interested in government to the extent that it can get him what HE wants. Anyone that opposes his ideas, in his world-view, is fair game for government action.

    Is he interested in Libertarianz? Not really. He knows little or none of the philosophy upon which it is based (as has been demonstrated here on many, many occasions). He repeats the same nonsense and fibs over and over again, even when he's been corrected - his position blown out of the water (as has been demonstrated here on this blog on many, many occasions). Red isn't interested in learning about anything or understanding it. He just wants to repeat his childish nonsense and make demand that everyone do as he wants.

    In summary, this sort of small "c" whinger is exactly the person who would, if the opportunity arose, behave as a tyrant- a perveted one at that. You can keep explaining things to him (and it is amazing how patient you've been) but he isn't listening.


  26. RB

    Libz have had exactly the same policies regarding marijuana in 1999 when we got 8000 votes as we did in 2008 when we got 1000. We also have the same tax policy, the same property rights policy, in fact the same every policy. We promote every one of these at every opportunity just as we did in 1999. What we had in 1999 that we didn't in 2008 was a nationally broadcast radio show hosted by the Libz leader and a conservative government on their way out.

  27. "What we had in 1999 that we didn't in 2008 was a nationally broadcast radio show hosted by the Libz leader"

    Oh yeah, so its all down to the closure of Perigo's show. OK. Well said. Completely excludes Libz leadership from any responsibility.

    I listen to Mark Levin these days. He talks about things that are relevant. You can see him


    getting maligned and abused on a left wing web site. (that's those leftists who are no bigger threat to freedom than those on the right)

    BTW, my views aren't welcome here, so I've expressed them on a convenient
    No Minister thread.

  28. Nat Supporter think of going Libz4 Jul 2009, 12:41:00

    I second to that comment by Redbaiter. I think that the Libz are concentrating on issues that perhaps not that important to the average Joe Public like this one for cannabis use. How about concentrate on issues that affect every Joe Public & Jane Doe in their daily lives such as tax-cuts. I know that it has been raised here many times, but so as other fringe issues such as cannabis use.

    You should rank/weigh your issues from top to bottom. Preach more often about the top ones and less more about those at the bottom (although you can still make a case about those not so important ones). Your risk of making every issues weigh the same is that you alienate the ones who would have endorsed you on tax-cuts and important issues like those, by arguing useless cannabis use which it doesn't affect the working plumber, a builder, a nurse (which they probably do that themselves in their own time at home). It affects directly in higher taxes and that's what you should be hammering.

    Once a person is persuaded that the Govt. is taxing too much, then all other minor issues can be made convincing to them to understand. Libz are trying to be multi-tasking at once which it is impossible to push thru.

    How about you start by addressing step by step the issues from top to bottom, rather than bundling everything as the same.

    The Libz would be the worst business managers or running big businesses, because they want to achieve things all at once rather than doing things one at a time, then progressing from there.

    Anyway, as Richard said in his post above that there will be a Libz conference in 2 weeks time. Where is this held? If it is close to my area, Rotorua, then I am interested to attend.

  29. Red and NSToGL, it's not a conference so much as a strategy session to nut out the road ahead.

    It's not up to me to invite you since I haven't been organising it, but as it's in your area why not get in touch and see about either making a brief presentation about your strategy and concerns(Red), or just meet up for a session or two to talk things over.

    Email me at

  30. That said, there WILL be a Libz conference later this year, and at least one other major public event being planned. Watch this space for details as we have them. :-)

  31. I cant stand the sight of his NAME on the computer let alone having to look at him and listen to his dribbling in the flesh - cant we just ban 1 thing - can we - please?

  32. Adults (and children) do not like to be told that what they have been taught, or believe to be true or correct, is in fact INCORRECT!

    People will put up all kinds of excuses and make up all kinds of defence to justify what they believe to be TRUE or correct.

    By Libertarianz saying Socialism is wrong, Tax is Theft, they will fight you all the way because they have been taught that Tax is NOT THEFT.

    They will ignore the FACTS and the TRUTH and past history and vote for Labour or National (we have all seen it) in order to stay with or justify their beliefs whilst feeling safe and following the majority

    The country and the world we live in functions on the political system as it stands. - It is what is accepted as normal

    Politicians in power were educated in and under this system

    These people (politicians) are in control of the education system

    Children (and adults) are taught at home and at school, and by all the media - radio, TV, Newspapers etc (which were also taught under it) that the system we have now is the accepted system.

    This SYSTEM is self-perpetuating, and will NEVER change unless that cycle is BROKEN.

    Young adults need to be EDUCATED in our philosophy before they are brainwashed in the present system, and before they chose either a political party, or an acceptance of the political system as it now stands.

    We must be CLEVER - there is no point advertising classes on capitalism or Socialism because how many children do you know that would look forward to, or enroll in a class with such a name or topic? The odd geek or two maybe, but thats not enough.

    We need FUNKY MODERN PEOPLE teaching interesting and FUNKY and modern examples.

    No kids will take any notice of some boring old fart talking about fascism or captalism.

    In no way am I suggesting watering down or compromising our philosophy, but if its not made interesting then nobody is going to listen to it, and if nobody listens to it, nobody will learn or get to accept our ideas.

    Trying to talk adults around is a waste of time (ever had a debate with Redbaiter?)
    Young adults must be targeted before they are brainwashed into accepting and following the sheeple

  33. Yep, you've got to get them before they're twenty-five.

    That's the job.

    Who's up for it?

  34. I'm happy to volunteer to take care of the females...

  35. Why break the speed limit, why drink coffee and consume sodium to become a nuisance. why allow cigarette companies to commit manslaughter. why open Bars at 8:00am. we should have the right to grow something beneficial, relax for a moment, with cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruteralis. so many adverse effects are from legal medications, but marijuana has little or none. For sleeping problems i'd rather smoke or ingest some pot than take Tylenol Pm and cause liver damage.


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