Ali Mau: Kia ora to Rose Renton's fight for medicinal cannabis
OPINION: I want to say kia ora to a New Zealander called Rose Renton - not kia ora as in 'hello', but kia ora as in good for you. Kia ora as in I hear you.
Rose is the mother of Alex Renton, who was the first person to have medicinal cannabis approved for use for his severe epileptic condition in 2015.
It was an unnecessarily arduous process back then - and it has been made a bit easier since. And unfortunately it did not save Alex's life.
But since he passed away his mum Rose has not given up the fight for others who need medicinal cannabis, and against what she says is a ridiculously backward way of thinking by our politicians.
She has pushed and pushed for greater access for those who need this drug - she doesn't support recreational cannabis use by the way, just medicinal, and she says she keeps getting told by the politicians in Wellington that it's not on the political agenda this election year.
Rose has called BS on that, and I'm glad she has. It's too late to help her son but she has continued her fight for the cause, including appearing before MPs at a select committee at Parliament.
Think about that phrase for a moment: "It's not on the political agenda".
Why would any politician say that when survey after survey of Kiwis asked whether they support medicinal cannabis has found that 80-90 percent do?
Rose says that means it IS on the political agenda this election - whether the politicians like it or not.
She points out that those are the very politicians who are in Parliament at our behest, to do the work that we want them to do. The arrogance they show by ignoring the wishes of up to 90 percent of Kiwis is breath-taking.
Rose suspects the politicians are afraid - and what would they be afraid of?
Perhaps of upsetting the small but vocal ultra conservative voting bloc which feels, without warrant, that this might lead to some widespread legalisation?
It's very unlikely to … but it might make life bearable for a heap of New Zealanders who just want to manage their pain, or their symptoms, and who know that medicinal cannabis might help them.
Ali Mau hosts RadioLIVE Drive from 3-6pm weekdays.