Flag of New Zealand with cannabis leaves.

Flag of New Zealand with cannabis leaves.

By Chris Bovey

New Zealand has just passed a law that will relax marijuana laws in their country by allowing terminally ill patients to use the drug.

They now follow a number of US states, Canada, Latin America and European countries, as well as even South Korea and soon Thailand in Southeast Asia, to legalise the therapeutic herb for medicinal purposes.

The New Zealand Minister for Health, David Clark, says it will give 25,000 people relief from pain in their final days.

Mr Clark said, “This is the most progressive legislation that has ever been passed through this House for the supply and access to medicinal cannabis products.”

“It’s about cultivation, cannabidiol and compassion, I’m very proud to commend this bill to the House, Some 25,000 terminally ill or ill patients can use marijuana products to alleviate pain without fear of arrest

“People nearing the end of their lives should not have to worry about being arrested or imprisoned for trying to manage their pain. So as a compassionate measure we are also creating a statutory defence for people eligible to receive palliation so that they can use illicit cannabis without fear of prosecution,” he said.

New Zealand civil servants will seek feedback next year on how the scheme should operate and would develop quality standards alongside experts, but Mr Bridges claimed this is already defacto decriminalisation.

The law also means that marijuana products can be manufactured in New Zealand for both domestic and overseas markets.

Photo of Jacinda Ardern, Labor Prime Minister of New Zealand, with cannabis plant in background. §

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, who is to offer Kiwis a referendum to legalise cannabis in her country.

The Labour government of Jacinda Ardern has also promised a referendum on full legalisation of recreational cannabis in New Zealand. One study by the New Zealand Drug Foundation suggested two-thirds of Kiwis favour some form of cannabis legalisation.

The new law suggests that New Zealand might be one of the next countries in the world to fully legalise cannabis after Uruguay and Canada, although, as reported by Feed The Birds, the tiny Duchy of Luxembourg may well beat them to it.

The bill which last week passed its third reading is opposed by the right-wing opposition party, despite polls showing overwhelming support for cannabis law reform in New Zealand and the fact that New Zealand has the highest cannabis usage in the world per head of population. Their climate is ideal for many varieties of weed and being such a low densely populated country, it’s pretty easy for the island’s inhabitants to grow it in the wild without getting caught.

The changes to medical cannabis laws on the other side of the world with the very real prospect of full legalisation in New Zealand is a far cry than the recent botched law changes in the UK by the Tories where they have made it possible for those with money to purchase over-priced cannabis-derived products at massively over-inflated prices on private prescriptions for thousands of pounds from companies with dodgy links to the Prime Minister’s husband and the husband of her Drugs Minister. The British government also ruled out any changes to the law on recreational cannabis emphasising that those who supply it could end up with 14 years in prison unless you’re fucking the Prime Minister or her Drugs Minister.

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.

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