Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at last on medical cannabis

36 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But trying to introduce into medicine the idea of “prescribing” random plant material is a big step backwards.

    I'm not feeling it. Sorry man, I just can't internalize looking after the medical profession so hard that I can buy what amounts to a concern troll against an incremental movement in the right direction. If doctors don't want to prescribe it, they don't have to. But the law change makes it possible, something that it currently is not. The evidence for why it should not be possible is even more weak than the evidence about why it should be. The harm caused by the prohibition is real. Yes, there may be some harms from stopping it too, but I am pretty much convinced that they are considerably less. We are literally talking about elective pain relief that has been blocked because of the war on drugs started half a century ago in a country that has since begun to wise up.

    Doctors aren't gods, for heavens sake. We don't have to preserve the holy sanctity of their profession for them. Most of them do it fine all by themselves. I literally don't give a flying fuck if the processes and procedures by which doctors come to their conclusions aren't fully nutted out in Parliament. I don't trust Parliament to do such a thing, and I never have. They're the reason we're here in the first place. I just don't see any reason to continue this stupid charade of pretending that a continued prohibition of medical cannabis is somehow in the interests of the general public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to BenWilson,

    I just don’t see any reason to continue this stupid charade of pretending that a continued prohibition of medical cannabis is somehow in the interests of the general public.

    Replacing one charade with another which directly involves the medical profession may not be a good solution.

    The idea that a doctor is the one informed of who the cultivator and/or supplier is rings alarm bells for me. What sort of responsibility does that imply being taken on?

    I think doctors would be justified in taking a very careful look at the professional, ethical and legal ramifications of this bill.

    I’d be interested to know what input from the medical profession the Greens had.

    Since Nov 2016 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Neil,

    Presumably you get a license to sell the product and seeds, seedlings etc, which is where the quality control comes in. After that, it's hard to see why it's needed at all. The user gets a prescription that effectively allows them to buy some, and keeps it in case they get hassled about the plants. We aren't talking about producing some industrial chemical. It's non-toxic plant that can be taken in a variety of ways, with dosage being pretty much left to the person using it. You can massively overthink this on behalf of the medical profession. But it's not actually about the medical profession. Their rights to have high standards are hardly the concern being addressed.

    Fortunately, this is a democracy. Doctors have influence, but not total control over something that has been banned for moral rather than medical reasons. It becomes a tool in the kit that they can use as they see fit to the full limit of their right to protect their industry's standards. Or not, depending just how precious they are about something that has not had a recorded death due to toxicity in all of human history, and how much they think it might be worth a shot for someone suffering severe pain and nausea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I would be opposed to any “reform” that simply de facto legalised pot without a wider review of al policies pertaining to our already drug soaked society.

    Simply legalising pot (and therefore pot abuse) to a society that already heavily abuses alcohol will do nothing for the out of control youth suicide rate.

    All we will be doing is creating even more completely out of it candidates for A&E on the weekend, and removing whatever few social constraints remain around drug abuse amongst the most vulnerable parts of our society.

    IMHO, If I were an MP I would vote to keep pot illegal, until we are ready confront the wider question of alcohol and drug abuse in our society.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Then (assuming you'd pre-decided that the drug was generally safe and effective) you'd prescribe it to each patient, perhaps starting with a small dose and increasing to see the effect on their symptoms. You'd record this and report any adverse effects, as well as conducting formal follow up studies on safety and efficacy (informed by the way you are using a standardised product).

    You also conduct double blind trials to determine whether reported effects are due to the treatment. You'd also do comparison trials with existing treatment with known risk/benefits to determine if the new medicine had better outcomes or reduced/increased side effects (it's pretty much accepted that all medicines will have some side effects in at least some of the population).

    None of this is terribly challenging. It does take time and money. And most importantly it's nearly impossible to do with a substance that is illegal - which is one hell of a good reason to stop prohibition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    But it's not actually about the medical profession.

    Which is my point as well. Remove the medical profession from this bill and I'd be happy.

    Oh and your claims of efficacy are unproven as are your claims of non-toxicity. Both things that really need large scale clinical trials - unless of course you believe anecdote over evidence in which case I have this incredibly expensive cream that will, er I mean may, restore hair loss, remove wrinkles, prevent the common cold and pay off your mortgage.

    Just friggen make the damn stuff legal so we can get on with dealing with harm - you know like Canada has just done

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Maybe a reasonable compromise would be for a doctor to certify that (a) the patient has a named condition and (b) they have no known factors that would contra-indicate the use of cannabis*

    That allows the government to keep up the pretence of prohibition whilst not involving a doctor in providing an unethical treatment.

    * A bit like a medical for diving. The doctor isn't saying that pressurising your body and taking it underwater is a good idea, merely that you are no more likely than average to damage yourself in such an ill-advised activity...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Remove the medical profession from this bill and I’d be happy.

    Me too, but that is not going to happen so I would not oppose this bill just to prove some obscure point about how it doesn't go far enough, any more than I would oppose a civil unions bill because it is not a full legalization of gay marriage bill. It's not the bill I'd have put forward, but to oppose it for not going far enough? I'm not that addicted to my personal standards of proof and ideal legislation to deliberately opt to argue for continue harm of those who might benefit from this increment.

    That said, the fact that we're having this discussion at all goes quite a long way to my enduring dislike of incrementalism as a framework. That a bunch of apparently liberal people who actually favour the idea of full legalization of cannabis would oppose a bill that partially achieves that is hardly surprising to me. It's the history of this approach, getting bogged down in arbitrary pissly concerns about due process, and any objection anyone can think of any time about anything. The production is not controlled!! Ahhhhhh! No, I won't have it! Tens of thousand of cancer patients can just suffer on it for 10 more years while we do clinical trials!! The police might get upset! Labour might not get elected!!!!

    TBH, I can understand Tom Semmens POV more. At least it's a consistent position of completely missing the point that medical cannabis doesn't get you out of it at all, and takes the typically authoritarian line of a staunch communist in seriously entertaining the idea that by banning pot we've saved kids from drug abuse, and ruing only that it can't also be done for alcohol.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to BenWilson,

    TBH, I can understand Tom Semmens POV more. At least it's a consistent position of completely missing the point that medical cannabis doesn't get you out of it at all, and takes the typically authoritarian line of a staunch communist in seriously entertaining the idea that by banning pot we've saved kids from drug abuse, and ruing only that it can't also be done for alcohol.

    Tom may have passed the wineskin with the Podemos comrades there in the olive grove beneath the stars, but he was careful not to inhale.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    That a bunch of apparently liberal people

    Hey Ben, calm down. You've called us concern trolls and now dissing us as fake liberals.

    We have genuine problems with the bill as written. We've articulated our problems with the bill and you disagree. Leave the snide insinuations out of it.

    I get that you are happy to set aside any issues we have in order to be allowed to grow and use pot more freely. I don't think we've said anything to deserve having you attack us personally because of a difference in opinion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I get

    You get nothing more than Good Day, sir. We will never see eye to eye and I don't care to waste any more time with you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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