10. What is the difference between the Greens and TOP cannabis policy?
Here’s the Greens policy:
Broadly TOP and the Greens share the same goal of reducing harm from the use of drugs – whether it be alcohol, cannabis, smoking or other more damaging substaces.
However, this is what is missing from the Greens policy (which is in italics below) on cannabis:
- Assess evidence from overseas jurisdictions that have legal cannabis markets to determine the best model for New Zealand.
TOP has done this and here it is - http://www.top.org.nz/top8. What are we waiting for?
- While waiting for broader law change for cannabis, remove penalties for any person with a terminal illness, chronic or debilitating condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, with the support of a registered medical practitioner.
Medicinal use is a non-issue once the regulated legalisation that The Opportunities Party’s research-informed policy is implemented as it allows those that wish, to consume cannabis without the stigma that prohibition brings.
- Accelerate the process by which medical cannabis products are licensed for use.
- Lower barriers for manufacturers to submit new cannabis products for funding applications to PHARMAC.
There is actually very little robust evidence for the medical benefits of cannabis, largely because it has been illegal so hasn’t been studied in a rigorous way. There is anecdotal evidence of therapeutic benefits, which suggests more studies should be done. But in the short term it is highly unlikely that cannabis products would be accepted by PHARMAC for funding. The question of medical use is therefore a red herring – we should get on with creating a legalised market (which there is evidence for) while further studies take place on the medicinal side. It is difficult to see why political parties are pushing medicinal use of cannabis when there is very poor evidence for it.
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