Restrictions on medical cannabis product CBD to be removed

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne has announced that the CBD cannabis medicine will have restrictions on its use and prescription removed in line with other countries.

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is known, is the part of hemp usually used for medical purposes and has little to no psychoactive traits.

Its use rose to prominence - and controversy - in 2015 with the case of Nelson teen Alex Renton, whose family campaigned for better access to the drug which may have improved Alex's quality of life in his final months.

Mr Dunne announced this morning that the substance has potential therapeutic value and yet it is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"At present CBD products for therapeutic use are only available if approval is given by the Ministry of Health," he said in a statement.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced CBD would have restrictions on it use and prescription removed. Source: 1 NEWS

"I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly.

"In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine.

"Australia has already taken a similar step while other countries are also responding to emerging evidence that CBD has a low risk of harm when used therapeutically.

"This change is about future-proofing access to CBD products, as the reality is that there will continue to be barriers beyond New Zealand’s control to people accessing such products from overseas.

The changes will remove the requirement for ministerial approval prior to treatment, and for pharmacies, prescribers and wholesalers to have an import licence, special storage areas and to keep controlled drug records and stock keeping.

Prescriptions will be allowed for up to three months' of the drug, rather than one.

Despite that, the Associate Health Minister says the government won't interfere with Pharmac funding decisions.
Source: 1 NEWS

'Highly trained' officer who left gun in Parliament toilets escapes charges over embarrassing gaffe

A cop who left a loaded Glock pistol in one of Parliament's public bathrooms will not be charged and will keep his job, 1 NEWS can reveal.

The Diplomatic Protection Squad officer - assigned to protect the Prime Minister and other VIPs - was instead disciplined, alongside a fellow officer.

The gun was sitting in a bathroom while the officer travelled to the airport, and was found by a member of the public. Source: 1 NEWS

Now police have closed the investigation, more details of the June 2016 incident have come to light.

The DPS officer put down the weapon when he visited the bathroom on June 16 but got all the way to Wellington airport before he realised he had forgotten it.

He asked another officer travelling with him to return to Parliament to recover the firearm.

But the second officer was too late - just moments before he got to the ground floor toilets, the gun was discovered by a member of the public.

It had been there for almost an hour and a half.

A spokesman for Police told 1 NEWS both officers were investigated and will continue to work with the DPS.

"In relation to the officer who left the firearm, the investigation accepts there was no intention to leave the firearm in the bathroom, and the investigation explored the options available to recover the firearm at the time," he said.

"This matter has been dealt with by way of an employment process with the individual and the second police officer, the details of which remain confidential between them and Police."

Assistant Commissioner Mike Rusbatch said it was a "serious incident" but was "thoroughly" investigated.

"We are in no doubt about the potential risk which arose from this incident.

"Our staff are human and we accept that the firearm being left in the bathroom was a genuine mistake.

"However, the loss should have been dealt with differently once it was discovered to minimise the risk to the public.

"This incident was without precedent and I am confident that lessons have been learned regarding application of our operational risk assessment model, and our expectations of staff."

A Diplomatic Protection Squad officer left the gun in a bathroom in the parliament buildings, which was found 90 minutes later. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: PM Bill English mistaken for John Key ...then shows off awkward dance moves after receiving Samoan title

Prime Minister Bill English has shown off his traditional siva Samoa dancing skills…to go with his newly bestowed chiefly title.

Mr English was this morning given the Leuluaialiiotumua matai title in the village of Faleula – where his wife Mary hails from.

The Prime Minister can add Leuluaialiiotumua to his list of titles after being granted the honour by the village of Faleula. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was there along with members of cabinet and traditional leaders.

In a touch of humour to the proceedings he was mistakenly called John Key twice and Faleula village chief Telea Tuna brought the house down when he jokingly asked for a special gift of New Zealand residency from the new matai.

Mr English thanked the village for the honour – and also his father in law for his wife Mary.

It's fair to say the PM’s strong suit isn’t dancing - but he can now add a Matai title to his name. Source: 1 NEWS