Regarding; the current NZ Govt. (Medicinal cannabis) bill, before parliament select committee. I made a written submission, but did not go to parliament, in person (Wellington) to give an oral one. I watched quite a few of the oral submissions (streamed online), from all sides of the debate (doctors, mental health workers & various other advocates). They have posted some of these, on the parliament website, for anyone interested to read.
One submission that did catch my attention came from ‘Action Station’; a public advocacy group. The speaker commented that they had many submitters through their website, she was there in person, to point out some of their concerns/issues. I now see that their ‘group submission’ is now, on the parliament website & took the time to download & briefly read through the 220+ ‘voices’ of my fellow kiwis.. here are my thoughts on what I read..
*Many had similar points of views, here are some paraphrased comments:
1) Many kiwis already use ‘illegal black-market cannabis’ (aka marijuana) to relieve their suffering
2) some would like to do so, but fear possible arrest/prosecution.. so they ‘suffer in silence’ or use other ‘legal drugs’ (opiates etc.) instead
3) whilst it has been widely stated, that there is ‘conflicting evidence’ on cannabis’ pain relieving properties, many obviously do get relief by using it for; arthritis, back pain etc.
4) many use ‘prescription painkillers’ & complain of their negative side effects.. some are quite severe
5) it sounds like, some believe (as I do) that ‘big pharma’ & others, are deliberately preventing cannabis, from being made more widely available.. financial interests ?!
6) if doctors think it could be useful, to relieve their patients illness/suffering, why does the current law/politicians stand in their way ?
7) why is this bill, mainly focused on providing cannabis to ‘terminally ill’ patients, when there are so many with chronic pain & other medical conditions, who could also benefit from it ?
8) at least one submitter asked; why is it OK to allow ‘medical heroin‘ (class A) but not ‘medical cannabis/MJ’ (class C) ?
9) some said that they had discussed prescription ‘Sativex’ (currently, only legal cannabis extract in NZ) & had even been approved it, BUT most just could not afford the cost of this non-funded ‘big pharma’ drug; >$1000/month
10) many pointed out that Aotearoa/NZ is way behind, many other OECD/western countries on this issue & questioned why is this so ?
11) there were many submitters, who used words like: irrational, hysteria, non-compassionate, uncaring. Some even asked a similar question to the one posed by a UN delegate (in a previous post).. ‘how would these MPs want their family members treated, if they were in a similar situation ?’ (some submitters saying they are living with, the ongoing fear of possible arrest/prosecution, for using black-market cannabis currently)
12) some questioned why only ‘CBD extract’ was being considered to be ‘rescheduled’ but not THC. Some pointed to the misinfo. around the supposed harm of THC, but in reality it is this compound, that likely relieves/treats some of their conditions
13) contrary to some ‘official views’, some of the submitters said, cannabis relieved their ‘mental health issues’ eg. anxiety, PTSD, depression etc.
* I give a big ‘Thumbs up’ to Laura & all the folks at ‘Action Station’.. plus all the ‘regular kiwi Joes & Jos’ who took the time to ‘let their voices be heard’ on this important issue. “Kia kaha.. ka mau te wehi” (be strong.. awesome)
**One matter that still stands out, (IMHO) is the general apathetic view, of so many people; because it ‘does not affect them personally’ 😦