Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Medical cannabis out, says Anderton [NZ Herald]


Jim Anderton

Medical cannabis out, says Anderton

04.11.2004 -

Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton says he will not support a
bill allowing the cultivation of cannabis for pain relief.

But Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons believes the drug should
be allowed for medical reasons.

The issue has arisen after Christchurch man Neville Yates was sent to
jail for five months by Christchurch District Court Judge David
Holderness for growing cannabis he says he uses for pain relief.

Yates, who is wheelchair-bound and brain-damaged after being hit by a
truck 30 years ago, had been sent to jail in 1999 for the same offence.

Mr Anderton, chairman of the ministerial committee on drug policy, said
yesterday that he would not support a bill allowing cannabis cultivation
for pain relief.

"The Ministry of Health is looking into this issue but it has to do it
on a careful basis. It has to have clinical evidence and advice that
using cannabis for pain relief is safe," he told National Radio.

Mr Anderton said the effects of smoking cannabis were even worse than
tobacco.

He said if cannabis was to be allowed for medical reasons, it had to be
properly administered and trialled clinically to ensure it did have the
benefits claimed.

"You can't just say, 'Let's use anything, some leaf or something',
you've got to have a set of clinical evidence and advice that this is
working properly under certain dosage, under certain medication
prescription."

But Jeanette Fitzsimons argued for a change in the law.

"I have a private member's bill in the ballot that would allow for
doctors' consent to be given to allow cannabis to be used medicinally
when it is appropriate."

It was "cruel and inhuman" to send Yates to jail, she said.

"It's a miscarriage of justice to imprison a man who presents no danger
to society simply because he was using the only pain relief he found to
be effective and with far less serious side-effects than prescription
drugs."

Mr Anderton said if cannabis was available in less dangerous forms than
smoking and was proved to work medically he would not have a problem
with it.

He said Yates had needed proper legal advice in court and hadn't been
helped by his association with cannabis advocate Blair Anderson as an
in-court assistant.

The judge was also critical of Mr Anderson's support of Yates.

"You were not greatly assisted by [Anderson] and other members of the
group who were, plainly, pro-cannabis advocates," the judge said.

Yates had three previous convictions for cultivating cannabis and a
total of nine for cannabis-related offending

--

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responses can be sent to mailto:editor@nzherald.co.nz


sig. Blair Anderson


cell phone 025 2657219
ph (643) 389 4065

http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/

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