Cannabis could soon lose its status as a Class B drug in New Zealand as politicians are expected to re-examine a crucial bill amendment this month.
Labour’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill seeks to legalize CBD, kickstart the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, and encourage prescriptions. Legislators have been working on it since December 2017 and a second reading is slated for this month.
Labour MP Dr David Clark is the driving force behind the bill and his campaign was given a timely boost this week.
Danny Battershill, from Rodney on New Zealand’s north island, went public to reveal that just a few drops of CBD oil changed his life.
The 29-year-old has slathered his body in all manner of creams and tried steroids, chemotherapy, and opiate painkillers to ease his chronic eczema. None did the trick and he reported that his skin was thinning, and he was suffering from infections and stress. But Battershill said his life turned around when he was permitted to trial an imported medicinal cannabis oil product from Canada.
He reported that the shivers, sweats, and shakes that plagued him have disappeared since he began using it, and he’s desperate for medicinal cannabis to be legalized.
He teamed up with a charity called Medical Cannabis Awareness NZ and they fought for a year to secure the CBD oil on a legal basis. He was given the green light this week, following an eight-month hospital stay and near-death experiences, and he is delighted by the initial results.
He urged fellow chronic eczema sufferers to try it, while it is also gaining traction among sufferers of epilepsy, Crohn’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
CBD oil is an unregistered medicine in New Zealand, as trials remain underway. Doctors can prescribe it, but many don’t, as it is such an unknown quantity. Yet that could all change if Clark’s bill is successful this month.
He has garnered support from the country’s Green Party. Green MP Chloe Swarbrick called it “a massive economic opportunity” after learning of plans to create 120 jobs at a mooted greenhouse in Ruatoria, a rural town on the north island.
Referencing the upcoming second reading of the bill, she said, “We have the opportunity to create something that is evidenced based, world leading and that can ensure we get the best outcome in terms of harm reduction, patients having access to affordable products and also ensure there is job creation here.”