Little said cannabis products should be available to anyone suffering chronic pain or a terminal condition if their GP signed off on it.
Labour MP Damien O’Connor has drafted a bill for Parliament that would shift the onus of decision making on medicinal cannabis away from the minister to GPs and medical professionals.
In a wide ranging Facebook Live interview with Stuff on Wednesday, Little said Labour would pass O’Connor’s law “pretty quickly” after the next election, should it win.
But on the wider issue of decriminalising cannabis, he wanted to see more evidence.
“I don’t have a moral thing about recreational drugs…my own experience of dealing with it as an issue was when I was a union lawyer, when employers started to do drug and alcohol testing and I did a lot of work on that.
“The medical evidence that came back to me overwhelmingly was that a lot of the cannabis available in New Zealand had very high THC (mind altering substance tetrahydrocannabinol) levels. For brains that are still developing in their late teens and early 20s cannabis use even to a modest degree can still cause long term brain damage. So I’d want to know we are addressing that real risk to that issue.”
Both approaches seem sensible. I’d wait to see the results of legalisation in the three US states which have done so, and see if drug related harms have increased due to legalisation. If not, then we should follow cause.
After a trough in the polls, Little believed Labour was bouncing back and said that was shown by the response to him out and about New Zealand. People were stopping him in the street, shaking hands and taking “selfies”.
“There is a mood shift, there’s a changing expectation.”
I agree there is a mood shift about Labour, but not a good one for them!