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Thursday, July 02, 2009

National dreaming over cannabis


I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that a bill allowing cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes did not even get to select committee. In effect, the bill, seeking to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act, was treated the same way as a New Zealand First bill from Peter Brown on euthanasia a few years back – bumped on a conscience vote. Every National MP voted against it. Every Act MP in the House voted for it. Is that a first?

Apparently there were problems with the bill. That’s why it goes to select committee to iron out such problems. National’s Johnathan Coleman opposed the bill because he thought it would bring cannabis into mainstream society. Note to Coleman: cannabis is in mainstream society.

Meanwhile Coleman and his friends will partake liberally of other drugs like tobacco and alcohol. Both have caused enormous damage in mainstream society. You’d think those at National would at least send the bill to select committee for debate.I even had a suggestion to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act. This would retain the current classification, but selected users would not fear prosecution for possession of reasonable amounts, and light use, for medicinal purposes.
9(5): To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute in relation to an offence involving the prescription, administration, cultivation, supply or possession of cannabis or the genus Cannabis plant for medicinal purposes, where the amount of cannabis is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

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