To: Minister of Health Hon. Jonathan Coleman and/or Associate Minister Hon. Peter Dunne

Allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis

Allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis

Add Cannabis sativa and related pharmaceuticals to the exemption list in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

Currently, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 Regulation 22 (2) has exemptions for (a) morphine and (b) cocaine; by adding an exemption (c) for cannabis it would mean that cannabis can be regulated and prescribed by medical doctors in the same way that morphine and cocaine can be prescribed.

LATEST UPDATE
On 8 February the Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne, announced that he was loosening the rules around medicinal cannabis.

Over 5,500 people from the ActionStation community signed the petition yet Dunne’s announcement doesn’t go far enough.

Are you able to send him an email today at p.dunne@ministers.govt.nz, thanking him for doing something and urging him to do more to reduce the barriers to medicinal cannabis treatments? We would be very interested in his reply to you if you can forward it to us. 

The changes announced still leaves a high barrier in place for people in severe pain and discomfort who want to access the drug, with the Ministry of Health still needing to sign off on applications from specialists.

Let the Minister know today at p.dunne@ministers.govt.nz that you want him to go further.

Why is this important?

Medicinal cannabis is used by an estimated 178,000 New Zealanders to treat a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's, appetite loss and nausea. It is currently possible to get legal access to cannabis drugs for medical purposes, however it is a very lengthy, expensive and prohibitive process. People in severe pain or discomfort, who have found medical cannabis gives relief, must ask their doctor to make a submission on their behalf which then must receive personal approval from the Minister of Health or the Associate Minister - with the result that only 170 patients have gone through process to gain the necessary approval.

Patients seeking simple pain relief who can't afford the process, or are unable to wait official permission, are being forced to find cannabis medicines by breaking the law. Besides such bureaucracy being costly in time and money, this can be a life or death situation for some acute cases.

Sick people simply seeking a better quality of life are at risk of being locked up.

If this petition is successful it means patients using medical cannabis products can be properly supervised. There is a danger in taking a product that is untested in strength and quality - while this is a drug with the potential to help many it should be monitored and regulated to minimise harms for patients.

Medical cannabis mouth spray Sativex has an exemption and is approved for treatment of multiple sclerosis, and there are other cannabis-based medicines that have been approved around the world that could be used here.

Sign the petition now to make sure people whose health and well-being depend on access to medicinal marijuana treatments can get them from their doctor, safely and without risk of criminal charges."

Stories

“I hadn’t thought much about medicinal marijuana until Helen Kelly campaigned for better access last year. It’s not something you really have to think about, until you or someone you love is sick and in pain, and could be helped by a cannabis-based treatment. That is now the case for me. So, no more sitting on the sidelines. It’s time to make sure people whose health and well-being depend on access to medicinal marijuana treatments can get them from their doctor, safely and without risk of criminal charges.”
Marianne Elliott, Director of Strategy and Story, ActionStation

Jessika Guest moved from Whangarei to Colorado so that her daughter Jade, 7, could use medical marijuana. Jade's diagnoses include hypotonia (a state of low muscle tone) and epilepsy, which used to cause up to 40 seizures a day.
In Colorado, she has been on skin patches containing cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid - a non-activated THC which means the cannabis does not have high-inducing properties.
Mrs Guest said her daughter's seizures have since decreased in frequency by 90 per cent.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415156

[Alex Renton’s] treatment included groundbreaking use of medicinal cannabis oil, Elixinol, after a campaign by mother Rose and family after conventional treatments did not work.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/70155247/cannabis-treatment-teen-alex-renton-sparked-national-debate

McKee had his leg amputated 30 years ago after a car accident and smokes cannabis to relieve phantom pains. Last year, he fought charges of selling and cultivating cannabis all the way to the Supreme Court but lost and is now serving a six months' home detention sentence.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9655674/Cannabis-spray-priced-out-of-reach-say-patients

More information

Changes to medical cannabis legislation
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=171181

Why isn’t medical marijuana a shoe-in? (Toby Manhire & Toby Morris) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/297299/why-isn't-medical-marijuana-a-shoe-in

Support for cannabis reform: why so high?
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/311073/support-for-cannabis-reform-why-so-high

Nelson lawyer Sue Grey takes government to High Court over cannabidiol
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/88612808/nelson-lawyer-sue-grey-takes-government-to-high-court-over-cannabidiol

Ministry of Health investigates medicinal cannabis use
Mr Dunne also spoke about how "compassion, innovation and proportion" should be front of mind in the development of drug policy. "We, as a global community, must continue to move away from rigid law and order responses, and apply a health lens when dealing with those adversely affected by drug use," Mr Dunne told the gathering.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415156

Helen Kelly backs medical marijuana
http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/helen-kelly-backs-medicinal-marijuana-2015060910

New Zealand urged to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/77453718/New-Zealand-urged-to-grow-cannabis-for-medicinal-purposes

Medicinal cannabis
https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis/medicinal-cannabis
https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/august-2015/QandA-Toni-Maree-Matich

How it will be delivered

Delivered to the Minister of Health, or Associate Minister.

Category


Reasons for signing

  • This plant had originally bought to New Zealand by French nun Suzanne Aubert for medicinal purposes. She grew its growth on the Wanganui River to add to the natural medicinal rongoa(medicine) to help our Maori people with their healing for unwellness and sicknesses. That was the true intent for that plant, for healing only.
  • I have Chronic Pain which make living a remotely normal life extremely difficult. Working full time, or driving for more than a max of 1hr/day, is EXTREMELY painful for me. As there is evidence that medical cannabis can be useful for Chronic Pain I would very much like the opportunity to be able to legally try this medication and see if it can help with my Chronic Pain... Maybe then I would be able to be able to work full time like a 'normal' person (and therefore also pay more taxes).
  • because there are people suffering. which is unnecessary, and illegal

Updates

2017-02-03 08:50:54 +1300

5,000 signatures reached

2017-01-26 19:13:39 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2017-01-26 12:46:07 +1300

500 signatures reached

2017-01-25 20:46:13 +1300

100 signatures reached

2017-01-25 19:10:06 +1300

50 signatures reached

2017-01-25 18:36:36 +1300

25 signatures reached

2017-01-25 18:16:39 +1300

10 signatures reached