National have supported the second reading of the Medicinal Cannabis Bill today with future support requiring the Government to accept a number of changes proposed by the National Party, National MP for Whangarei Dr Shane Reti says.

“National voted in favour of this Bill today, outlining that National’s future support depends on the Government’s acceptance of a number of Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) that I will introduce during the committee stage.

“This Bill, in its current form is loose and unworkable and has been widely criticised by the medical community, stakeholders and the wider public. Ridiculously, the Bill would make it legal for people with a terminal illness to possess and use cannabis but illegal for people to supply it to them.

“Our SOPs will significantly improve this Bill and are based on the significant work that I have done on my Members’ Bill. We want to that ensure New Zealanders in need can access high quality medicinal cannabis products to ease their suffering.

“The changes we are seeking would improve access and affordability including fast tracking provisional MedSafe consenting of new medicinal cannabis medicines and pharmacist dispensing as well as creating a workable licencing regime.

“We would not support the Bill permitting the smoking of loose leaf cannabis and have concerns for any medical conditions that are included in the Bill. This should be left to experts and not politicians under the guise of medical need.

“If the Government won’t work with National on making improvements to the Bill we will not able to support the Bill at any further stages. The Government’s bill is poorly designed, rushed legislation which the media has called ‘legislative laziness’ and raises more questions than answers.

“We want to work with the Government to fix this Bill to ensure that medicinal cannabis products are made available to New Zealanders who need them with an appropriate regime in place in a fraction of the time of their current plan.”

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