Medical cannabis advocates march through Auckland

Medical cannabis law reform advocate Vee Hoy smoking cannabis at today's march in Auckland. PHOTO:NZ Herald
Medical cannabis law reform advocate Vee Hoy smoking cannabis at today's march in Auckland. PHOTO:NZ Herald
Advocates for the legalisation of medical cannabis marched through the rainy streets of Auckland today.

The issue is hot on the political agenda with the general election just three weeks away.

It is the fifth such rally, organised by the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Auckland Patients Group, with protesters marching along Queen St calling for patients, caregivers and supporters to have safe, legal access to natural affordable cannabis.

The Government recently announced it would remove restrictions around the non-psychoactive cannabis derivative cannabidiol, but the protesters say this doesn't go far enough.

"Patients need easy, safe and affordable access to natural medical cannabis," NORML spokesman Chris Fowlie said.

"These are steps in the right direction, but it's a herb anyone could grow at home."

Auckland Patients Group leader Pearl Schomburg called on Police Commissioner Mike Bush to introduce a moratorium for medicinal cannabis for patients and their supporters "until the unjust laws upholding cannabis prohibition are altered to reflect good science, medical studies and the will of the people as shown by numerous current polls".

"Opinion polls show increasing support for cannabis law reform, and all of our major parties except National now support some form of law change," she said.

Bill English and Jacinda Ardern were quizzed on the issue during Thursday's first leaders debate.

They were asked whether they would legalise cannabis for medicinal use, with Ardern giving an unequivocal "absolutely, yes".

English said he would be prepared for the rules to be further loosened but stressed the need to ensure any product sold went through the proper clinical process.

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