Medicinal cannabis petition presented to parliament


Rose Renton spoke of her kind, gentle, considerate and generous son as she addressed supporters of her petition to legalise medicinal cannabis.

Alex Renton died last year after suffering mysterious seizures, during which time his mother secretly treated him with cannabis oil before its use was approved by Government.

Today Rose presented a petition to Parliament with 17,000 signatures calling for law reform to allow doctors to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

Sativex is currently the only approved medicinal cannabis in New Zealand and Alex was the first New Zealander to receive ministerial approval for an alternative product.

He died a month after receiving it.

In her speech today, Rose Renton spoke of terminally ill former Trade Unions president Helen Kelly, who is currently in hospice care with terminal cancer.

"Helen is a person who has supported, helped and changed for the better thousands of lives in New Zealand and did not receive the respect she is due."

She said Kelly had been one of many using cannabis oil for pain, nausea and muscle spasms.

"We should not need to be dying to access affordable cannabis, Mr Key."

Labour MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O'Connor has a Members Bill in the ballot that would see broader access to medicinal cannabis, that he says aligns with the calls in the petition.

"It asks for access to affordable, medicinal cannabis, on the prescription and advice of professionals, it's not open to anyone."

Taking up his bill wouldn't be a big change or a threat to anyone, he said.

"It simply opens the door so that medical practitioners can subscribe it to people who might benefit from it."

Health Select Committee Deputy Chair Barbara Kuriger said she was present purely in a supportive role and there was no shift in the National caucus room on the issue.

"We're here to listen, I'm just here to accept the petition."