Cannabis referendum: This is about recreational use, not medicinal treatment

Stuff co.nz 24 August 2020
Family First Comment: Ouch! The smokescreen of the Drug Foundation and Chloe are destroyed by this good doctor….
So many good statements that it’s hard to know which bit to highlight!
“Suggesting that voting yes for recreational cannabis will mean better access for medicinal treatment is misleading at worst and disingenuous at best…. As a GP I feel a duty to help ensure the public is properly informed when they cast their vote, they should know about the existing availability of medicinal cannabis and the potential risks of self-prescribing cannabis for health reasons. I’m concerned that many voters have been led to believe a cannabis referendum ‘Yes vote’ equals a ‘Yes’ for medicinal cannabis. This is not the case; patients already have access to medicinal cannabis. It’s legal under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme and currently available via prescription from doctors who can identify any potential drug interactions and adverse effects that may affect a patient.”
“Admissions to psychiatric hospitals for marijuana induced psychosis will go through the roof. Over the last few years we’ve put millions of dollars into the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Speak to any health professional that works in this field and they’ll tell you the impact that marijuana has on psychosis. Increasing access will undoubtedly result in a surge in mental health admissions. Smoking cannabis comes with the same risk of lung damage as smoking cigarettes and let’s remember New Zealand has made a commitment to be smokefree by 2025.”
#VoteNopeToDope

OPINION: Suggesting that voting yes for recreational cannabis will mean better access for medicinal treatment is misleading at worst and disingenuous at best.

With the cannabis referendum fast approaching, arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use are being put forward by numerous interested parties.

As a GP I feel a duty to help ensure the public is properly informed when they cast their vote, they should know about the existing availability of medicinal cannabis and the potential risks of self-prescribing cannabis for health reasons.

I’m concerned that many voters have been led to believe a cannabis referendum ‘Yes vote’ equals a ‘Yes’ for medicinal cannabis. This is not the case; patients already have access to medicinal cannabis. It’s legal under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme and currently available via prescription from doctors who can identify any potential drug interactions and adverse effects that may affect a patient.

Should recreational cannabis be legalised it may become more commercially viable for local companies to also enter the medicinal cannabis market, however this is not a given. The Ministry of Health has set stringent requirements for the approval of new medicinal cannabis products and no new applications have been made to date.
However, the public should be aware that legalising cannabis for recreational use isn’t a guarantee of better access to safe, tested and approved cannabis products for medicinal treatment.
Dr Mark Hotu is a GP and medicinal cannabis specialist at the Green Doctors clinic.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/cannabis-referendum/122437472/cannabis-referendum-this-is-about-recreational-use-not-medicinal-treatment

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