Health Ministry works to mid-2020 date to legalise medicinal cannabis

NZ Herald 15 October 2018
Family First Comment: This is disturbing. Is the government cynically delaying the intro of cannabis medicine to time it with a vote on recreational dope to improve the chances of a yes vote?! Stop playing politics.

People in chronic pain and the terminally ill will have to wait until at least mid-2020 to legally obtain medicinal cannabis, according to a Ministry of Health document – a wait criticised as far too long.

The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, introduced by Health Minister David Clark in December 2017 under the Government’s 100-day plan, is expected to become law by March 2019.

A Health Ministry document, released under the Official Information Act to National’s associate health spokesman Shane Reti, shows it is working to a timeline that assumes a “go-live date” in mid-2020.

“And this is just for the required regulations. It is highly unlikely that dispensing would begin at that point and it would almost certainly be much later. This is unacceptable,” Reti said.

National supported the Government’s bill at first reading but then pulled its support in July with its own bill in Reti’s name. National said its bill set out a more comprehensive and well-researched regime for the use of medicinal cannabis.