Labour / Greens Playing Cynical Politics With Cannabis Medicine

Media Release 17 Oct 2018
Family First NZ believes that Labour and Greens are playing cynical politics with the cannabis medicine issue because of the upcoming referendum on recreational dope, and patients who could benefit will be the ones that suffer.

“Despite our strong opposition to the liberalisation of recreational dope laws, we have always supported a cautious and researched approach around cannabis medicine, and we also support a compassionate response to those in real need. But it appears to us that the government is ignoring a good option presented by MP Dr Shane Reti simply because they want to delay the issue so that it causes a ‘smokescreen’ and muddies the water around the legal dope referendum,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The potential benefits around medicinal cannabinoids are being used by recreational drug advocates worldwide to manipulate society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns in order to achieve their own liberal drug agenda. We believe that Labour and Greens are deliberately delaying the timing of cannabis medicine regulations in New Zealand to try and influence the outcome of the referendum.”

“If that were not the case, they could easily adopt Dr Reti’s bill and genuine patients could be benefiting as early as 2019.”

“The earlier bill by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was rightly rejected because it failed the test in terms of public health, public safety, and protecting our young people and was effectively ‘legalisation-lite’. And the Labour bill also had a number of shortcomings. We believe Dr Reti’s regime ticks the boxes in terms of dealing with the concerns we raised in our submission of efficacy and safety being paramount.”

Family First is supporting the rapid expansion of further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms, and the establishment of a programme that allows seriously ill patients to obtain other non-smoked components of marijuana approved and listed by the Ministry of Health via their doctor – with appropriate funding and pricing for patients. Neurologists, palliative care and pain specialists should have a key role in this process.

“Ultimately, the medical profession should be dictating the direction of this debate, not politicians and marijuana advocates with a hidden agenda.”

Family First is calling on the government to adopt Dr Reti’s bill.

READ Family First Submission to the Government’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill 2018 Bill
Briefing Paper sent to all MPs