I just watched part 1, of a NZ Med-cannabis doco. titled ‘In Pot Pursuit’. They raised the following issues, around the drugs use in Aotearoa/NZ:
1) there is still a large split in the medical profession, those who support its use & those still opposed
2) there is still much demonisation/vilification around the issue, that has stopped; broader research & potential uses
3) there are only 2 legally approved cannabis drugs in NZ, both are imported from overseas & not funded by the Govt. agency; ‘Pharmac’. They cost patients around $1000/month. A recent survey found that about 5-10% of kiwis use Illegal cannabis for self-prescribed ‘medicinal/therapeutic uses’
4) there is a Govt. bill currently before the parliament, that could see broader access & use.. a report is due from the ‘Health Select Committee’ in the next few weeks, with the results/recommendations after public submissions were heard & evaluated
They spoke to a few people in NZ about their experiences, trying to access medicinal cannabis:
1) a lady who is paralysed from the waist down & currently is prescribed opioids etc. managed to get her GP doctor to write a recommendation for med-cannabis. It then went to a specialist, who replied that her case did not meet the very strict requirements & was denied. She then sent the recommendation to a ‘private specialist’ who has a $500 consultation fee & stated the prescription could be about $1500/month. The lady was still weighing up her options..
2) a young couple who had 3 children, 2 had a severe neurological condition (one has passed away) the other is on a ‘cocktail’ of prescription drugs, that seem to be just ‘managing the condition’.. were looking at med-cannabis, but had gone no further than researching it..
3) a lady (who has been in the media & is campaigning for better access) who has a severe neurological condition (MS ?), has been prescribed ‘Sativex’ for a couple of years (at $1000/month); who stated it has effectively replaced a cocktail of other drugs.. BUT is now facing having her supply cut off, due to cost. She said she had already spent about $28k. She can no longer afford to pay this excessive cost.
They also showed a NZ company that is ‘gearing up’ to set up a grow room, research & production facility in Aotearoa/NZ, pending possible law changes, in the next year ? The CEO said they had raised over $15million towards the setup cost.. but are on-hold awaiting law reform. He said it could create 100s of jobs & raise about $1billion in potential revenue, if they get the ‘go ahead’ soon
They then showed a brief preview of Part 2 (next week); the current situation in California (& many other countries ?) that already allow much broader medicinal cannabis.. than Aotearoa/NZ 🙂
watch this space..