This afternoon the National Party has announced their own take on Medical Cannabis, with significant detail that has been left out of the Labour bill.
“As a natural pessimist, I am surprised that any form of card system would fly with the National Caucus”
“The inclusion of a card access system at pharmacies is a masterstroke, with patient choice preserved, and the input of medical professionals maintained, satisfying the strongly conservative elements of their party”
“The front end, prescribing and dispensing is well thought out, reflecting Dr Reti’s background as a GP”
“The size and scope of the bill reflects a significant amount of time, hundreds of hours, and international expertise being pulled in to `Do it once, do it right`, as opposed to David Clark’s hands off, 0 detail approach which has suffocated on a lack of resources”
“With the Ministry of Health falling behind its own schedules and no consultation in play on the to be drafted regulations, this is a positive indication of how far a conservative party is prepared to go”
Says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.
Of concern however, is the back end of cultivation and production, it doesn’t address import or exports, onboarding local illicit cannabis into the legal supply chain, and the bill is vague about the single most deciding factor, of standards versus product costs.
“MCANZ has a strong preference for Canada’s “Near pharmaceutical” standards of “GPP”. MCANZ has had 4 separate products approved for individual patients made to that standard, and deemed acceptable by Medsafe” Says Shane.
“Despite promises made by inexperienced speculative Cannabis producers during the select committee process, “Pharmaceutical grade” or “GMP” adds a significant cost burden, and foreign companies such as Bedrocan operated for many years before obtaining that standard.” Says Shane.
“To demand it upfront would handicap patient access by adding costs and potentially an additional year of time before companies are productive” says Shane.
Most disappointing is the scrapping of any form of compassionate clause, for the tens of thousands of ill people who don’t deserve to be criminalized.
“It’s understandable that the compassionate defense was scrapped, it can be a can of worms, however, there are other options”
“As a compromise, MCANZ would like to see a medical necessity defense added to their bill so that the police and the courts have another tool at their disposal to reflect societies shifting values on the issue, without explicitly endorsing illicit use.”
“As an otherwise law abiding citizen who has been on the receiving end of the police, it is reprehensible that National couldn’t stomach doing more for severely ill or disabled people, and their loved ones who would go to any lengths to support them”.
“We will be communicating to the National Party to this effect in the coming days, and hope to be constructive around alternative means of protecting our patients from the police, and see if there is an appetite for tweaking” says Shane.
“Also overlooked is funding, right now children are dying who would get legal access if it weren’t for the costs involved, neither bill addresses subsidies, and Pharmac in its current guise is unlikely to fund anything for the next decade, our policy as released early this year offers an alternative funding scheme without denting our current budgets” says Shane.
“But most of all, we hope that this bill helps speed up the debate and the lawmaking process, as a compassionate society, this law is already well overdue,” says Shane.
Shane Le Brun
Medical Cannabis Awareness Coordinator
Registered Charity CC52960
027 581 8305