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More MS news articles for August 2003

Status of cannabis for fresh committee

Look at medicinal use advocated

Saturday, 9-August 2003
NZPA Political Reporter
The Otago Daily Times

Wellington: A parliamentary committee had recommended the Government consider allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes but has been unable to agree on the drug's legal status.

The health committee said that question should be considered by another parliamentary committee.

It said high levels of cannabis use and black market activity indicated the current prohibition regime was not working.

A key recommendation in its 80-page report is that the Government consider allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis products for medicinal purposes.

Chairwoman Steve Chadwick said clinically tested products such as tablets and sprays could be prescribed.

This would mean people who suffered chronic illnesses - such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer and epilepsy - would not have to "get high on pot" to get the relief provided by the medically active components in cannabis, she said.

The committee's brief, when it started its three-year investigation into the health effects of cannabis, was to find the most effective strategies to minimise the use of the drug and evaluate the harm it caused.

It found there was no evidence to suggest harmful effects for the majority of occasional recreational cannabis users.

"However, harmful acute and chronic effects of cannabis use are associated with frequent and heavier use."

It said the Government needed to develop policy to reverse the trend for increasing consumption of cannabis by young people.

Copyright © 2003, The Otago Daily Times