Medicinal cannabis law could encourage criminal activity - National

National says the Government's recently unveiled potential medical cannabis framework contains "concerning omissions" and could even encourage criminal behaviour.

Speaking to Newshub Nation, National's spokesperson for health Michael Woodhouse voiced his concerns over the public consultation document released this Wednesday.

"There's the opportunity to grow cannabis outside, which means security is going to be quite significant - but the discussion document doesn't say very much about that.

"Morphine is a medicine too but heroin, the poppy product that is grown wild, is actually very dangerous if it's not well-controlled - the same will be true of the marijuana leaf."

Woodhouse said the current proposals are too liberal regarding where medical cannabis crops could be grown.

"There's no guidelines around proximity of cultivation to, for example, residential areas or schools.

"I think there are some dangers in respect to the likelihood that there could be people wanting to go and raid the crop."

The National MP also called out the Government regarding vaping, which has not been ruled out as a delivery method for cannabis-based medicine.

"The irony of all of this is that the Government isn't prepared to include the vaping of nicotine in its smoke-free legislation but it seems to allow it for marijuana. We wouldn't support vaping in the framework.

"Currently the only medicines that are inhaled are those for respiratory conditions or those that are overseen by a medical practitioner, say an anesthetist, so this has dangers with the safety of it but also dose control."

The current consultation is part of the Ministry of Health's preparation for establishing a medicinal cannabis agency and implementing a medicinal cannabis scheme early next year.

After receiving feedback, the ministry will seek approval from Cabinet on the proposals and draft the proposed medicinal cannabis regulations. 

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