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Labour MP Damien O’Connor has drafted a bill for Parliament that would shift the onus of decision making on medicinal cannabis away from the minister to GPs and medical professionals.
Mr. O’Connor said,” In the ’70s NZ had the opportunity to grow poppies for medicinal purposes. We turned our back on that; Tasmania has been the beneficiary of that,”
He said growing medicinal cannabis would be a boost for New Zealand’s economy and would create jobs.
“The opportunity to diversify our economy and the opportunity to grow high quality products for health is something that should be considered,” he says.
Labour leader Andrew Little said that Labour will legislate for medicinal cannabis and will pass O’Connor’s law pretty quickly after taking office, should they win.
Little said cannabis products should be available to anyone suffering chronic pain or a terminal condition if their GP signed off on it.
On the wider issue of decriminalizing cannabis he said,
“The medical evidence that came back to me overwhelmingly was that a lot of the cannabis available in New Zealand had very high THC (mind altering substance tetrahydrocannabinol) levels. For brains that are still developing in their late teens and early 20s cannabis use even to a modest degree can still cause long term brain damage. So I’d want to know we are addressing that real risk to that issue.”