10 May 2021

Government won't consider amnesty for chronically ill to use illicit cannabis

From Morning Report, 7:09 am on 10 May 2021

A Ministry of Health document leaked to RNZ shows officials will not even consider extending an amnesty to allow all chronically sick people to use illicit cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis campaigners are furious - saying the government's dogmatic approach is "ludicrous" and ignores that fact the current regime is not working.

In late 2018, MPs passed legislation creating a temporary criminal defence so people with life-limiting illnesses could use cannabis while the wider medical regime was being set up.

The Ministry is legally required to review that protection and whether it should be altered - but an internal paper shows it has already ruled out considering any expansion.

As RNZ deputy political editor Craig McCulloch reports, activists are not happy.