'Rare opportunity' for NZ to reform medicinal cannabis - Swarbrick

Long Lunch 30/01/2018

Two Bills on medicinal cannabis will go before Parliament on Wednesday. 

The Government's Bill will increase access to pharmaceutical cannabis and create a legal defence for terminally ill people who possess and use raw cannabis plants.

The other Bill put together by Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick goes further. It would allow any New Zealander with a "debilitating condition" or terminal illness to use raw cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a doctor.

Chlöe Swarbrick joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to discuss her Bill.

She says it's an exciting time for New Zealand with two Bills on medicinal cannabis currently being reviewed.

"New Zealand is presented with a really rare opportunity, being relative latecomers in the international sense, to reform around medicinal cannabis.

Swarbrick told Wendyl Nissen there are some differences between her Bill and the one being put forward by the Government.

"My Bill recognises that the current status quo is such that only about seventy percent of people approximately in the country at any given time are able to access medicinal cannabis through the framework that currently exists under the Ministry of Health," she said.

The Greens were promised a referendum on the recreational use of cannabis as part of its confidence-and-supply agreement with Labour.

It will take place at or before the 2020 election. 

Listen to the full interview with Chloe Swarbrick above.

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.