26 Feb 2016

Medical cannabis guidelines to be reviewed

2:06 pm on 26 February 2016

The government is reviewing the guidelines drawn up last year for considering applications for medical cannabis.

Peter Dunne says raw cannabis is not on the agenda for the current government.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the Ministry of Health would carry out the review. Photo: AFP/RNZ

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the guidelines were always for guidance only and not set in stone, as some believed.

Read the latest column from Toby Manhire and Toby Morris on medical marijuana

It was a new policy area for New Zealand and there would be fine-tuning as the process developed, he said.

"Given the developments in the field of medical cannabis, not just in New Zealand but around the world, it's just appropriate to keep looking at our guidelines to make sure they're fit for purpose."

The guidelines were introduced after Nelson teenager Alex Renton died in Wellington Hospital in July following a prolonged epileptic seizure.

He is so far the only person to have received ministerial approval for medical cannabis.

The guidelines were recently applied to an application on behalf of the former head of the Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, but Mr Dunne said the application was withdrawn by her specialist.

He said the Ministry of Health would do the review, but he was not ruling out external input.

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