New Zealand Health Minister, Dr. David Clark, decided to move forward with granting terminally ill citizens the right to use cannabis. This is despite police pressure to stop the proposed provision.
Legislation is currently before the New Zealand Parliament that would alleviate the fear of prosecution for using cannabis while in a terminally ill state. The proposed bill defines “terminally ill” as someone with only about 12 months to live. Some government agencies now have conflicting viewpoints regarding how far the medicinal cannabis bill should go. New Zealand police want to “ensure any legislative provision was workable” and would not develop “unintended consequences.” Dr. Clark did not support the viewpoint of police on this matter. “The police suggested deferring because they’re concerned about how these things are to be policed – that’s their job – we of course are concerned to be compassionate in our response.”
If a terminally ill person was caught consuming cannabis then the proposed bill would allow the defendant to present certification from their doctor. This would therefore allow them to avoid prosecution. The Justice Ministry’s concern is with those who may access cannabis on behalf of someone who is terminally ill. However, the Health Ministry opposed giving provisions to friends and family because it would “significantly broaden the proposal.” Reason being, it could create unintended consequences. Particularly the potential business of supplying cannabis to terminally ill patients which could thrive with the exception and statutory defense as their cover.
Lawyer Sue Grey has represented a number of people that have been charged with obtaining cannabis for medicinal purposes. She is strong on defending the point that friends and family should also have legal protection included in this bill. “Because the sickest people can’t supply themselves and to put their family under that intense pressure of prosecution for helping a dying or sick person is just completely unfair and unjustified.” Dr. Clark is not currently supporting the extension of defense to friends and family.
By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)
Any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below!
For more articles like this, click HERE