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New Zealand Legislation set to Ease Access to Medical Marijuana

A jar of medical cannabis next to a bunch of marijuana.

The new laws have been passed two years before New Zealanders head to a referendum on the status of medical marijuana.

The new law that the New Zealand government just implemented means that thousands of patients that may need to use medical marijuana will now have access to the therapies. But it has not been easy, as for it took years of unrelenting campaigns for many New Zealanders that could only find pain relief from the drug to get the legislation passed.

The legislation is also good news for terminally ill patients that may now resort to medical marijuana therapies including smoking pot whenever they feel like, without having to worry about prosecution from the authorities

According to David Clarke, the New Zealand health minister, thousands of New Zealanders have to live with end of life and chronic pain, yet the evidence of the effectiveness of marijuana as a remedy is undeniable.

The new legislation is not only good for patients suffering from chronic pain but also for business. With the passing of the legislation, medical marijuana companies in New Zealand will find it easier to make cannabis products that can then be sold on both the local and international markets. Statistics show that medical cannabis is a huge industry that could change the lives of the Maori communities that live on the eastern edges of the North Island that have for a long time been economically disadvantaged. With medical marijuana now legal, what was once a booming underground business can become a thriving legal industry.

According to Clarke, everybody has the right to be comfortable particularly near the end of their lives. The health minister asserts that no one who is near the end to their life needs to worry about chronic pain or being arrested and prosecuted for trying to make their lives comfortable.

The legislation is one of the best examples of empathy and compassion which will go a long way in easing the suffering of a lot of people. Patients can now take medical marijuana without having to worry about being hauled to court to answer to charges of possessing illegal substances.

Moreover, the legislation could not have came at just the best time, given that the government has already promise to hold a referendum on recreational marijuana use. The referendum will be part fulfilment of the confidence and supply agreement that they did enter into with the Greens.

Proponents and sponsors of the campaigns had a lot of praise for the government which has passed the landmark legislation barely a year since it was elected into office.

Most New Zealanders will interpret the passing of the laws as a sign that New Zealand is leaving the past and heading into the 21st century, according to the campaign manager Sandra Murray who headed up the “make it legal campaign.”

New Zealand has been left behind the rest of the world as many countries in the world held referenda and sought to pass sensible laws about marijuana. While it has only been recently passed, the legislation shows a lot of promise and over time will certainly become the go-to guide on how to get a marijuana policy right.

Nonetheless, marijuana has for all intents and purposes been legal in New Zealand. The police do not seem to mind and will not arrest persons using marijuana in small quantities. However, attitudes towards cannabis are beginning to shift with even politicians admitting that they used it during their youthful years.

However, just like with anything, not everyone is happy with the new legislation. According to the National party that is the opposition, the government has made cannabis legal through “stealth”. They further went on to argue that the move to legalize cannabis was dangerous and lazy.

The party is in favor of medical marijuana and is strongly opposed to legislation that makes it legal to smoke loose leaf cannabis in public spaces. Shane Reti the National spokesperson on all matter health said that “smoked loose leaf in any form is not medicine”.

Nonetheless, any person who needs to use marijuana for medical purposes including chronic pain will need to wait for up to a year before they can get relief. This is because the new legislation does not yet have licensing rules, regulations and quality standards to be followed in the sale of medical marijuana products.

Mac Jackman