Māori MPs talk medicinal cannabis

By Maiki Sherman

Are Māori MPs for or against the legalisation of medicinal cannabis?  Te Kāea canvassed their opinions.

Marama Davidson says the Green Party supports the idea.

“We know there are many benefits in marijuana for those who are very sick,” she says.

The MP for Te Tai Tokerau agrees, but says strong prescription regulations for the drug are necessary.   

“If a child is sick then I agree to them taking the pill form of cannabis, a pill is fine, but I don't agree to them smoking the drug for their illness,” says Kelvin Davis.

New Zealand First is on the fence until they see which side of the debate is greener. 

Pita Paraone says, “At the moment New Zealand First are waiting on advice from Pharmac. They are the company responsible for analysing new drugs and determining whether or not they are suitable for New Zealand.”

Although the Māori Party looks likely to support medicinal cannabis, they won't support a referendum.

“We don't see the benefit in taking the issue to the public for their consideration. We believe that it is for experts and doctors to weigh up the benefits and negatives of the drug,” Te Ururoa Flavell says.

Marama Davidson also hopes it won't come to that.

“The cost of a referendum is high and it's also a lengthy process. We think it's better to continue with the work to date by Peter Dunn,” she says.

The Minister certainly has a big decision ahead of him.