New Zealand


Prohibition of medicinal cannabis 'a mystery to all reasonable people'

Of course we should have legal access to cannabis for medicinal use in New Zealand. That it is still prohibited, at all, is a mystery to all reasonable people.

Estimates from the latest New Zealand Health Department surveyshow the number of adults aged 15 and over that used cannabis in the past year is 11 per cent. This figure has remained stable for many years.

One in three of those adults said they used cannabis weekly; that's nearly 150,000 people. Some surveys suggest that there may be 70,000 daily users.


Medicinal cannabis likely in New Zealand by 2016

Toni-Marie Matich's eldest daughter suffers from intractable epilepsy - a seizure disorder that cannot be controlled with conventional medicine. It led the Hawkes Bay mother-of-five to found United in Compassion (UIC), which advocates for New Zealand-based research into the therapeutic effects of cannabis-based medicines. The paediatrician caring for her daughter just happens to be the Children's Commissioner, Russell Wills.

And that's led to the unlikely but powerful alliance of Wills and UIC, teaming up with NZ Drug Foundation, to campaign for broader access to medicinal cannabis. It's raised the prospect that it could soon become as readily available as morphine.


New Zealand: Drug abuse escalates ‘alarmingly’

USE of illicit drugs in the country is increasing at an alarming rate, with cannabis and heroin being the most commonly used, hence the need for the government to embark on immediate strategies to tackle the problem.

A study conducted in 12 regions has shown an increase in illicit drug use, especially along major transport corridors. The trend poses a serious danger to future generations who are being lured into the vice.

The study was conducted by 14 experts from the Drug Control Commission (DCC), the University of California, San Francisco and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Tanzania, who presented the findings yesterday in Dar es Salaam.


New Zealand family seeking cannabinoid spray prescription say many more could benefit

Pharmac plans to discuss Sativex with its primary clinical advisory committee this month, a first step towards possibly more public funding. Photo / Thinkstock

For 11 years, Jacinta Newport's daughter has been in pain.

Sometimes in the hips, sometimes in her lower limbs, that pain, along with frequent visits to specialists, has been a constant, just like her cocktail of medicines and often terrible side effects.

"It's just affected her life on every level," Mrs Newport says.

Her daughter, now 22, was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was 11. The condition affects about one in 1000 New Zealand children.

"We've tried everything. We've been everywhere. We know what works and what doesn't work."


New Zealand: 'Exciting' development in medicinal cannabis debate

Medical cannabis campaigner Rose Renton says news cannabis spray is to be considered for public funding is "exciting".

Pharmac, the agency responsible for deciding which medicines get subsidised, plans to discuss the Sativex spray with its primary clinical advisory committee, the New Zealand Herald reported.

In April Nelson teen Alex Renton was hospitalised for seizures. His family campaigned for him to be given medicinal cannabis and in June he was prescribed Elixinol, a cannabidiol. Alex died on July 1 in Wellington Hospital.

When the oil was approved for use in June, Alex was the first person in New Zealand to receive the cannabidiol in hospital.

His mother, Rose said Pharmac was making an "exiting small step forward" in looking at the spray.


New Zealand: Cannabis spray considered for funding

A cannabis spray used to treat epilepsy, pain and multiple sclerosis will be considered for public funding next month.

Pharmac, the agency responsible for deciding which medicines get subsidised, plans to discuss the Sativex spray with its primary clinical advisory committee, according to a letter from Pharmac released on Friday.

Pharmac said Sativex contained cannabidiol with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

The agency said consideration from the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee was the first step in assessing the funding of a new medicine.


New Zealand: 'Let's get this country green'

Medicinal cannabis: 'Let's get this country green'

We asked Stuff Nation members to share their views on whether cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use. This is Michael Doran's view on the matter.

I have been a drug addict for the past 30 years and clean for about three years.

The one constant drug that I have used and will continue to use for migraines, depression and insomnia is cannabis.

I have tried different prescribed medicines and different forms of therapy, but the best solution has been to self-medicate with cannabis. Unfortunately, that means breaking the law by having to buy it off people who are themselves trying to sell enough so they can afford to smoke a bit of it themselves.


New Zealand Historical Medical Cannabis Policy Briefing

Historical Medical Cannabis Policy Briefing with NZ Officials

The New Zealand Drug Foundation in conjunction with United in Compassion New Zealand call upon United Patients Group to contribute to a first-of-its-kind collaboration between US and international experts to further explore cannabis as a possible therapeutic treatment in New Zealand for a range of conditions


New Zealand Police Letters Warn Facebook Drug Dealers They're Being Watched

A letter to a Facebook user from Canterbury police warns that the user might wish to "review" their membership of an online group suspected of aiding illegal drug deals.

Police have been snooping on people's Facebook profiles, and using the evidence to carry out drug raids.

The monitoring has been exposed by members of a blackmarket Facebook group, who complained of receiving letters out of the blue from police, warning them they were being watched.

One unidentified user received a letter from the Canterbury Organised Crime Squad, dated July 15, warned that their membership of a group suspected to be aiding illegal drug deals had been noticed.


The police are decriminalising weed in New Zealand

Why the cops are going soft on pot but politicians are not

Chris Fowlie is the head of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and he really doesn’t like the way the police enforce the Misuse of Drugs Act. In a recent post on The Daily Blog, he argued that the authorities maliciously target harmless dope smokers, causing them far more harm than a joint ever could.


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