Could loophole give Kiwis more access to medicinal cannabis?

  • 22/03/2016
Could loophole give Kiwis more access to medicinal cannabis?

By Dale Owens

The issue of medicinal cannabis is back in the spotlight and the question of whether Kiwis should or shouldn't have access to it.

It's been revealed in the past few weeks that both Martin Crowe and Sir Paul Holmes used marijuana before they died and the call to legalise it here is gaining momentum.

Across the ditch in Australia, they have just passed a law to begin clinical trials of medicinal cannabis so where does that leave us here in New Zealand and how will people get hold of the medicinal version of the drug?

Story met one woman whose brush with the law led to a discovery of a loophole which could mean more Kiwis getting hold of medicinal cannabis legally.

Rebecca Reider's happy to be a free woman because a judge recently let her off charges of importing medicinal cannabis.

She uses pot to help with the chronic pain she has suffered for 10 years.

"I've been to 20 to 25 doctors both here and in the States and never really got a proper diagnosis."

She's a New Zealand citizen, originally from California where medicinal marijuana is legal.

Ms Reider started using medicinal marijuana on a regular basis -- whenever she went back to see her parents in the States, she would get a prescription and post cannabis chocolate back to New Zealand.

But her luck had run out.  Despite having a prescription from a doctor in California where medicinal cannabis is legal -- she was busted.

"I was sitting on my porch just finished my lunch and I looked up and saw a big police vehicle pull up in my driveway and three of the local police walked up to me and told me they had a warrant to search my house, because cannabis chocolate had been found in the mail to me."

But with the prospect of a custodial sentence, lawyer Sue Grey discovered a loophole.

"If the medicine was lawfully prescribed overseas and brought into the country into New Zealand and it's for medical purposes and it's one month's supply, then it's lawful. There is no offence under the misuse of drugs act.”

So does this mean Kiwis can come through the international airport with a controlled substance, with a prescription for less than a month, and get through the door? And does the law practice what it says?

Could this loophole potentially mean more Kiwis could get hold of medicinal marijuana legally?

Watch the video for the full Story report.