Terminally ill former Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly is calling for a referendum at the next general election on legalising cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use.
Ms Kelly, who was diagnosed with lung cancer early last year, says she is using cannabis for pain relief and would like it to be available legally.
“I think if we can have a referendum on the flag – everyone’s, you know, pretty half hearted about that – we can have a referendum at the next election,” she told ONE News.
“And we can have it on both questions actually. We have have it on medical, and people are interested in the criminalisation issue as well ’cause there are strong arguments,” she said.
“I mean I’m promoting medical use, but if you had both questions people could choose what they want to.”
Ms Kelly says New Zealanders are interested in both questions “and I think a referendum at the next election would be a brilliant thing, and create huge interest from people”.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has previously said the Government will not be swayed by “emotional nonsense” colouring calls for wider access to medicinal cannabis. He said there had only ever been one application for a dispensation to use cannabis products not registered in New Zealand – for Nelson teenager Alex Renton – which he had approved. Ms Kelly is planning to apply to the Ministry of Health to use a medical cannabis product which she says makes up 30 per cent of the Californian market in medical cannabis.
“So it’s a perfectly legitimate, tested, available product that doctors are prescribing in the states and yet I’m at risk of it not being approved here,” she said. Ms Kelly says she has just had 10 days of radiation on her brain and spine, is on chemotherapy and the cancer has spread throughout her body, but “all things considered I’m alright”.
Source article One News