There is growing pressure on Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to relax the rules around medicinal marijuana – but any proposed changes won't have the Prime Minister's backing.
Nineteen-year-old Alex Renton has been in an induced coma at Wellington Hospital for more than a month, and his doctor and parents believe cannabinoid oil could improve his condition.
Protestors turned out yesterday to urge Mr Dunne to sign off on it in Wellington and Nelson, including Labour's West Coast MP Damien O'Connor.
- READ MORE: Family fights for cannabinoid oil treatment
Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, says it's unfair to string families along.
"Why should parents who have got kids who are having seizures, who think this might work – even their doctor is saying might work – be forced to go on the criminal drug market to get medicine for their children?"
Ms Kelly is keen to try cannabis oil to relieve her own pain, but the law and fear of the unknown is standing in her way.
"I don't want to buy cannabis oil made on the black market where it could have properties that I don't know about. I can't see how strong it is or how weak it is, or what its components are. I'd like to be able to buy it properly prepared and legally use it."
Prime Minister John Key however backs the current process, which allows Mr Dunne or the Ministry of Health to approve the use of medicinal marijuana. He doesn't want it made any easier than that.
"There's no guarantee that even if they were given a medical marijuana product, that it would actually achieve better outcomes for their son," he said yesterday. "There's no guarantee it would actually work."
Mr Key says medicinal marijuana legalisation is not something he's actively looking to progress.
source: newshub archive