Re­newed calls to end cannabis ban

Nelson Mail - - NEWS -

Cam­paign­ers took up camp on Trafal­gar St on Sat­ur­day morn­ing, call­ing for an end to the 90-year pro­hi­bi­tion of cannabis.

Cam­paign leader Kelly Patch­ett said Novem­ber 11 marked 90 years since the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act was passed, mak­ing the use of cannabis il­le­gal in New Zealand.

Patch­ett, along with a woman dressed as a green fairy, was hand­ing out leaflets and book­lets with in­for­ma­tion about the medic­i­nal uses for cannabis.

It fol­lows the re­cent pros- ecu­tion of Rose Ren­ton, who is known as a ‘‘green fairy’’, a term used to de­scribe cannabis grow­ers and sup­pli­ers who help pa­tients on com­pas­sion­ate grounds.

Patch­ett said peo­ple like Ren­ton ‘‘risked their lives’’ and free­dom, and it was time for the gov­ern­ment to move quickly as 90 years’ pro­hi­bi­tion was enough.

‘‘We know the gov­ern­ment is will­ing to make changes, it’s just not mak­ing them fast enough,’’ she said.

The new gov­ern­ment has sig- nalled it will hold a ref­er­en­dum on the is­sue. Patch­ett said the ref­er­en­dum couldn’t come soon enough for those with chronic pain.

‘‘Many of the pa­tients who use cannabis have been through the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals process, so they’re not just say­ing ‘I don’t want to use them, I want to use this’,’’ she said.

Patch­ett had pre­vi­ously been on a large amount of strong opi­ates, us­ing ‘‘up­pers and down­ers’’ for chronic pain re­lated to fi­bromyal­gia. She said they didn’t ‘‘touch the sides’’ of her pain and kept her as a ‘‘zom­bie’’.

She hoped by hold­ing an aware­ness-rais­ing event she could talk to peo­ple about why they made a big ‘‘hoo-ha’’ about it.

Un­less peo­ple had lived with chronic pain, it was hard for them to un­der­stand.

‘‘You talk to any pa­tients, or any fairies, and it’s a really emo­tional sit­u­a­tion be­cause they think we’re just talk­ing about a plant, but we’re ac­tu­ally talk­ing about peo­ple’s lives.’’

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