New Zealand’s Medical Marijuana Bill is Coming This Week

After over a half-year of waiting, it finally looks like New Zealand will get a medical marijuana bill introduced this week.

In a trickle of empathy in June, Health Minister Peter Dunne announced that doctors in the Kiwi nation were allowed to prescribe CBD for conditions including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, among others.

Since that historic moment in time, the fires of cannabis reform were stoked and both the New Zealand government and its people seemed ready to embrace the medicine.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed during a press conference Monday that a medical marijuana bill would be introduced into parliament in the next few days.

The bill would amend New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs Act to exempt medical cannabis users with a valid prescription. The exemption would also apply to an immediate family member or other nominated individuals who may need to administer the medicine in some cases.

A previous private members bill introduced by the New Zealand Green Party on June 9 will not be the legislation used by the Prime Minister. Ardern believes the Green Party bill goes too far and would not receive governmental support.

“What we are producing is a bill that we know has the support of the House to get through,” said Ardern.

“We have undertaken that we would improve on the status quo, and we are doing that. And we can guarantee with the bill we have got, we can do that. We can’t guarantee that with the member’s bill. There are differences, and you will see that when the bill is introduced,” she said.

James Shaw, the leader of the Green Party, said they would not withdraw their private member’s bill. Shaw was still satisfied that some form of medical marijuana legislation is being introduced.

“[Our bill] will be in there as an option,” said Shaw. “But the good news is we know there is also a government bill that has the numbers to pass the House.”

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