Grey’s green petition heads to parliament
The ongoing movement to legalise medicinal cannabis, and rehash laws on the controversial plant, received further endorsement recently as a petition to encourage reform was placed into political hands.
Otamatea Grey Power president, Beverly Aldridge, handed over papers holding 1290 signatures to Northland MP Winston Peters on September 28. The petition signifies a growing belief that individuals have the right to cultivate cannabis sativa for relief of severe pain associated with serious illness.
“We are a group of seniors who have loved ones, friends and family, suffering from cancer and painful diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis. We thought there had to be a better way to alleviate our loved ones’ pain than what is currently available,” Aldridge says. “There is now enough scientific proof that this God-given plant is not only safe but was not a God-made mistake.”
After speaking about immigration, superannuation and Northland’s ongoing lawlessness, Winston Peters accepted the petition, maintaining that NZ First’s policy regarding the sticky issue of reviewing cannabis laws has always been to hold a referendum.
“I’m sick of decisions made by politicians who are out of touch,” he says. “There are a lot of people in parliament who have never had a real job, who have done real work.”
However Peters did hint that a change to the current law is on its way.
“My belief is, parliament will vote to free up the law.”
The structure of cannabis is specifically designed to harmonise with the human endocannabinoid network, which is responsible for neuroprotection and micro-managing the immune system, the primary control structure that maintains wellbeing. When illness and injury occur, the immune system is called on by the endocannabinoid network to begin healing.
Countries throughout Europe, Asia, Middle East, UK, USA and New Zealand have conducted scientific research, reviewed and vetted by peers, on the health benefits of cannabis. Results show the plant can have a therapeutic effect on a vast range of diseases including dementia, anxiety disorders, glaucoma, Tourette’s, liver fibrosis, bronchial asthma and bipolar.
Aldridge says that by contrast, the Centres for Disease Control estimate that at least 12,000 people die each year from aspirin and millions more from the thousands of toxic and expensive prescription pain medications.
“It would seem sinister for this plant – that has been completely non-toxic and indeed a highly-nutritious, gold standard pain medication for thousands of years – to be declared illegal with such passion,” she says. “Yet governments remain silent on this issue and spend our money on prosecuting and imprisoning people who would be law-abiding and innocent but for such an oppressive law.”
Aldridge circulated the petition throughout the 32 GP chapters and had hoped for more signatures. However, the other branches nationwide were advised by the president of the Grey Power Federation, Tom O’Connor, to ‘keep away’.
“I please ask that associations keep away from this particular campaign as it has the potential to cause us [Grey Power] a great deal of harm,” O’Connor stated in a memorandum sent to all GP groups.
Aldridge says she had expected that 50 per cent of the membership (30,000) would have understood the rationale for the petition as many members experience pain caused by inflammatory and degenerative diseases.
“I was disappointed with the response… they seemed to follow his advice, which was a shame,” she says. “However O’Connor said he could support medicinal cannabis but just not the freedom to grow your own plants.”
Additional signatures to the petition would have been highly likely if a wider circulation was allowed as, according to results from a recent poll conducted by New Zealand research company UMR, 72 per cent of the population support the use of medicinal cannabis.
“I think we have the right to grow a small number of plants in our garden,” Aldridge says. “Much like someone can choose to have a rum and coke, I should be entitled to pick leaves from my own plant and put them in my smoothies.”
RELIEF: Otamatea Grey Power president, Beverly Aldridge, hands Northland MP Winston Peters the pro-medicinal marijuana petition to be presented at parliament at a later date.
“We are a group of seniors who have loved ones, friends and family, suffering from cancer and painful diseases… We thought there had to be a better way to alleviate our loved ones’ pain than what is currently available.”
- Beverly Aldridge