Medicinal cannabis Bill passes in Parliament

Drive 11/12/2018
Photo: File.

The Government has passed a medicinal cannabis Bill which promises a regulated market as well as a legal defence for users who are close to death.

The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, with the support of Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party.

It passed with 63 votes for the Bill and 53 against.

NZ First and the Greens both won concessions to the Bill, which amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

"New Zealand First promoted the inclusion of anyone in palliation rather than those who are defined as terminally ill, as was originally drafted," NZ First's spokesperson for Health Jenny Marcroft said.

"This was an important language change. We felt that the term palliation was more appropriate. Those requiring palliation are seriously ill, and the focus of treatment is on improving their quality of life."

She said the Bill takes a compassionate approach and will provide as many as 25,000 people with a much-needed defence.

The Greens pushed for a regulated local market to be established no later than a year from now, which will allow native strains of cannabis rather than just imported cannabis products.

Regulations, rules and quality standards will be based on the advice of experts.

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