'Why do we have this hang-up?' Doctor asks why cannabis still cannot be prescribed

A GP has pointed out that he is able to prescribe very powerful, potentially-deadly opiates - but still cannot prescribe cannabis at his discretion.

Dr John Cameron, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme, made the comment after Green MP Chloe Swarbrick's Bill proposing changes to the way cannabis can be prescribed was voted down by National and NZ First MPs.

National MP and former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman spoke directly after Ms Swarbrick and was strongly opposed to the Bill, calling it "decriminalisation by stealth".

A watered down medicinal cannabis Bill was introduced by Labour and has since passed its vote and will head to a select committee.

Dr Cameron said New Zealand's drug law is "ancient", hailing from the 70s, and needs to be updated to reflect our current values and understanding of medicine.

The family are struggling to afford the $1100 a month it costs for Grace's Sativex medication. Source: 1 NEWS

"I would like to think we're a more enlightened country, but we're still working under the Drug Acts from 1975 - they're really quite ancient," Dr Cameron said.

"Cannabis could be a very useful tool for us in dealing with patient symptoms.

"I can prescribe very powerful opiate medicines that if I gave them to you, you would die immediately ... why do we have this hang-up about cannabis?

"Because it's a recreational drug that people can grow in their back gardens."

Dr Cameron recognised that there are issues from some groups using cannabis, especially teens or young people with brains which are still developing, as that can have long-term negative effect on cognitive function.

Tom O’Connor says the product should be legal for anyone to use with GP approval – not just the terminally ill. Source: Breakfast

However, he said cannabis product are, for many, a good way to relieves symptoms such as nausea or swelling inside the eye from glaucoma.

The funding of cannabis products has not been addressed, he said, and pointed out that the approved cannabidiol drug Sativex still costs about $1000 per month.

Dr Cameron suggested that the price of cannabis products needs to be reduced drastically, and pointed out that many in New Zealand are keen to manufacture cannabis medicine here, which would help to do that.

"It's a useful drug - we should be able to prescribe it in this country on the basis of what the patient needs - let's leave all the other stuff to one side."

Dr John Cameron says he could prescribe powerful, potentially-deadly opiates, but still is not allowed to prescribe cannabis. Source: Breakfast



'Protest won't bother me' – Jacinda Ardern upbeat ahead of historic Waitangi address

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the potential for protests at Waitangi doesn't bother her as she gets ready to deliver a historic speech today.

Ms Ardern will be the first female PM to speak from the porch of Te Whare Runanga today and isn't concerned about any possible protests.

"364 days of the year we're quite proud of the fact that we speak openly and are frank with each other, we embrace our freedom and contest of ideas and then on one day of the year if any of that happens we think we've failed," she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

Ms Ardern's says she wants to change the attitude around seeking perfection and peace on Waitangi Day.

"I think Waitangi Day is a national celebration and if there is protest that won't bother me," she said.

Ms Ardern says she is looking forward to speaking .

The NZ First MP holds an annual Waitangi party which goes heavy on the seafood. Source: Breakfast

The PM says it will be a "personally significant" moment and she plans to make the most of it.


 

The Prime Minister says any protests at Waitangi won't be a setback in the relationship between the Crown and iwi. Source: Breakfast

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Man facing murder charge after 16-year-old female found dead in Dunedin

A man has been charged with the murder of a teenager in Dunedin over the weekend.

The 16-year-old female was found dead at a property on Clermiston Ave on Saturday morning.

The 30-year-old, who was known to the victim, will appear in court today.

Police are not seeking anyone else over the death. 

The 30-year-old was known to the deceased, who was found by police on Saturday morning. Source: 1 NEWS