Thursday 17 September 2015

Medical marijuana for some or medical marijuana for all?

A couple of weeks a back I was visiting a psychiatrist in Hamilton seeking an assessment and a form of supervision to bounce around my ideas. He finds me quite interesting as I discussed my study of cannabis and post graduate research and he urged me to continue my study and complete my masters degree. I informed him that higher academic study may get me heard at a higher academic level but I am probably past thirsting for knowledge. I'm too comfortable at home with my grandson and preparing for a new baby. A dog or fur baby. He also said he meets once a month with a few other professionals each month and they discuss issues, including cannabis. So it was pretty good. On Sunday night there was a great medicinal story on cannabis about dravets syndrome and how one mother has been giving her child cannabis oil, extract of CBD. This is as illegal as any other use of cannabis and she has risked both her arrest and possible involvement of CYfs with the fact she is giving an illegal preparation to her child. This Mother, like Rose Renton has been operating in secret and isolation until now. There is also a bit of a split occurring and factions within medical marijuana and the medical users community. Green cross has been around in New Zealand in several locations with several different founding members still working hard for the cause. The most well known and out spoken was Billy McKee and Neville Yates and Danueil clarke before him. Billy McKee follows the traditional green cross recognition of the whole plant and a persons right to grow their own. A split and a bit of strengthening of the GreenCross and medical model arrived when the synthetic cannabis hit the streets. Any person worth their salt, user or grower of cannabis instantly disliked this product and saw it as unsafe and not part of a cannabis law reform debate. This is a corporate takeover and development of a new product to fit an existing market. Pure business and no bottom line, no real health concerns. Then Sativex and GE pharmaceuticals entered the New Zealand market. dr David Hadorn one of the originals with GW lives in New Zealand. sativex needs a specialist to prescribe and is prohibitively expensive. Dearer than buying several ounces per month , kind of expensive. It may be a great product if you have lots of money but not many of the green cross patients I know are financially able to afford this. in fact if you know a bit about about cannabis use in New Zealand you will know that the financial situation after a cannabis conviction is unlikely to be too rosey. Like most people who are sick or invalid they are not working, so their income is meagre. The number of difficulties I have encountered when trying to organise a medical marijuana gathering has been very difficult due to lack of mobility and lack of funds. So the split between those who want to follow the current medical model and have a doctor prescribe and those who want to grow their own plants is mostly due to affordability.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Cannabis and our health system. And me.

Cannabis is recognised as medicine in California since 1996. Since that time another twenty or so other States in America have also legalised the use of medical marijuana. Two states have gone even further and have legalised cannabis for recreational use for those over the age of 18. In New Zealand we have had several high profile cases in the court trying to get the use of medical cannabis tried but all of these seem to have resulted in severe penalties for the accused. I know of a one case where an exemption to use cannabis was given but the case was in Christchurch and being a health related issue I do not want to comment. I lived in the United States for several years in the late 1980's and in that time began to understand more about the uses of cannabis. I got into education and became a teacher and then left teaching when I discovered that over a thousand school aged children are excluded from school for cannabis use. This figure astounded me. I could not believe that excluding children from school for cannabis. It's always cannabis, never smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol which are also prohibited to people under 18 while not illegal . The harms from smoking and drinking far out weigh any cannabis use. Plus the stupidest part of expelling children from school is in doing this the youth have an extra 6 hours a day to partake in their drug of choice. Keeping children in the school system is a protective factor in their future outcome. I seriously cannot understand why we as educators understand rewarding good behaviour and yet understanding youth, being expelled from school is almost a reward, if you can prevent your parents from knowing, even better. Being bad is kudos. Keeping these pupils in a school environment and working hard to understand what lead to the cannabis use and where did it come from? Exploring this in a sensitive manner can be a turning point for a young person. The opposite is the angry man who was kicked out of school, never went back and is still smoking cannabis with the same attitude as a 15 year old, now at 40 or 50 years of age. Behaviour can become entrenched through the injustice of a situation. The medical marijuana situation or lack of one in New Zealand is what makes me consider leaving New Zealand to go back to America is very appealing. I have spent a decade conducting qualitative research from cannabis users and medical users who are very knowledgeable. I find it disappointing that we lack a Minister of Health willing to follow the lead America has over many countries with safe access to cannabis. Safe access means more than buying cannabis in a safe environment that isn't gang related or a tinny house. A safe access to cannabis may include a number of different controls or regulations surrounding the sale of cannabis. Guaranteed weight is the biggest problem in buying cannabis in New Zealand. The price of cannabis may be as high as $500.00 an ounce when there is high demand but although an ounce is a common weight when buying a supply of medical marijauana but often under weight bags are common. Smaller bags of cannabis either a hundy or a fifty has no guaranteed weight . The dollar value is set and the buyer takes it or leaves it. A tinny isn't likely to be medical grade marijuana and being wrapped in foil as they often are you can't see what you are buying but they are likely to be less than 1 gram for $20 or even $25.00. The quality is unlikely to be consistent and may be poor with leaf, seeds or stalks. In contrast to the street sale of cannabis, a medical marijuana dispensary requires several things. ID is the first. An age restriction of 21 was not unusual in America and I'd must be produced without a medical card. The marijuana for sale in a medical dispensary is on display and named and the person behind the counter is knowledgeable about the medicinal properties of the differnt strains. Some cannabis is good for uplifting a low mood or low energy and other strains can be for pain relief or even sleep. It is a wonderful smelling plant when growing and has a pungent aroma when smoked. Many health professionals get bothered about the smoking of cannabis and see it as a pathway to lung disease and heart problems as well as mental health problems with the most often touted is the link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. Just as many studies show no causal link or even correlation between the two. I have worked in mental health and on a methadone programme while training. Addiction and depression were two of the areas I felt most confused about as I had been diagnosed with depression and prescribed Prozac in 1989 while living in Maryland USA. I also saw an amazing psychiatrist who recommended me to reads a book by another doctor called the Road less travelled. Dr Scott Peck. I gained a great deal of insight into my feelings and low mood and we agreed to call my depression homesickness and I left my husband and returned to New Zealand. As soon as I stepped of the plane in New Zealand my depression disappeared. From that point on I became quite sceptical about the depression is a disease when my disease didn't step of the plane. I hated taking antidepressants and didn't get any real lasting benefit from them either. I know what happiness is and I know what makes me happy. I have always known, it's the same things at five and fifty in my case. I love being outdoors, I love summer and clear beaches. I love horses and farms and occasional trips to the horse races. I love coffee and I love cake. I love autumn leaves and bonfires. I love fire works and gardening. I love fruit picked of a tree and eaten . I also love cannabis. I didn't at 5 or even the first time I tried it. But as part of my social circle cannabis was a big element. When I couldn't access cannabis in America I developed depression perhaps and going back to New Zealand aliviated that problem addiction or depression? One thing for sure, antidepressants didn't make me happy. My depression is always a result of a stuck thought pattern. Instead of learning skills to cope with rumination I developed a run away technique. When I got stuck in a problematic situation I had only one and I moved. If it was a job, I quit, if it was a relationship , I ended it and moved. I trained as an addiction counsellor and worked on a methadone programme. It was working with these really "unwell " people that I got confused again. These people in almost every instance had developed drug habits that grew out of coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma. Others developed an addiction to pain relief after an accident. These were people who had best friends die in front of them, had grown up with violence or abuse,some had discovered dead bodies of the parents or child. Such sad and tragic things had happened that anyone would wonder , how can I live with this? Addiction was an escape, seeking drugs or money or gambling stops the thinking or flashbacks,yay- no memories. I found much of the behaviour quite understandable. Harder to understand was the shaming and way we view addiction and yet even the criteria for addiction and drug dependency varies. I felt that much of the health system is more schizoid and delusional than many sick people. I say this because of the blatant chosen ignorance about medical marijauana despite thousands of research articles and just it being such common knowledge and common practice in eastern medicine. When dealing with mental health professionals in New Zealand almost all take the view that cannabis use is bad for mental health. This flys in the face of research on Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Ptsd is the same as shell shock and the phenomenon of traumaed men returning from Vietnam was resulting in a spiked incidence of alcoholism , depression and suicides. This was not the fitting behaviour of trained soldiers. Several doctors introduced cannabis as a means of reducing the alcohol consumption and the mental health of the veterans improved. The physical health of the men improved as the cannabis did more than elevated their moods, it helped with sleep disorders and pain. In all it was a remarkable result. Here in New Zealand any use of cannabis is stigmatised. Most health professionals assume it dangerous to health and that is why it is illegal. If you use cannabis daily you are labelled a person with a Substance abuse problem. The next thing is you will promptly be prescribed drugs to help. Help what ? Using cannabis didn't make you a sick person. No one seems to grasp the fact that prescription meds are drugs with instructions to take daily or 4 hourly or as required and often supplied at 3 months at a time. Three months cannabis for a person who has pain and difficulty sleeping may use a large amount of cannabis. A three month supply of cannabis is likely to cost over a thousand dollars if at a minimal dose of a gram per day was being used.

Saturday 14 March 2015

Ministry of Health investigates Medical Cannabis

Mp Peter Dunne is at it again. Once again a slew of lies are being emitted. Ross bell of the New Zealand Drug Foundation fears that information may have been outdated.?!? California , one flight away has had medical marijuana since 1996 and a federally provided marijuana programme supplying a number of patients. There is no shortage of information available with 20,000 published articles on medical marijuana online. The New Zealand drug Foundation published their own literature review in 2006 and followed current New Zealand practiCe rather than being bold enough to suggest time for a real change. MP Peter Dunne was quoted and made a written comment that, "medical marijuana is garage". (2002) This was his response to a terminally ill man who along with another man set up the first compassionate care club dedicated to getting medical marijuana support for patients and doing extensive research both from medical use and also one person studied law. This was called Green Cross. it is not a marijuana dispensary it was for sharing information and gaining support for the hiv positive community who experience severe nausea as a side effect of the medication. In the Herald this week Peter Dunne , our associate minister of health for about a Millenia, was quoted again as saying, "For those suffering from such ailments I have enormous sympathy ... The evidence ( supplied by officials) However has been underwhelming. Well I wonder what your justification of making a comment that medical marijuana is garbage and then go on to ignore all medical cannabis forward movement but have support for the psychoactive. SubStance bill. A bill clearly almost no MP read or followed the implications and herbal highs were never mainstream. A bit like the nos phase. for a a few giddy seconds ignorant MPs signed a bill that they thought would take the general population forward and be safer when it was the exact opposite. Mr Dunne has made all sorts of excuses in holding New Zealand back from catching up with the relaxation of the prohibition of cannabis and the development of a legal and regulated cannabis industry as seen in Colarado, and California and Washington with remarkable success and rapid law changes being made. He needs to have a critical eye watch him as I think he is devious and dishonest. Cannabis law reform is 40 years of protest and the chief constant has been mr Dunne despite changes of leadership within Parliament, cannabis law reform has languished. As a person who has studied drug abuse and also been to America to study how cannabis is used in America in a medical setting it is obvious he is detrimental to gaining medical marijuana while he has a seat in the beehive. What irks me the most about Mr Dunnes attitude is that is disrespects the sick , the vulnerable and children who are routinely using cannabis overseas for neurological illness that cause seizures and other spastic like difficulties. His attitude is so pompous it says- convince me, as I am the powerful man to decide thIs matter . What he lacks is any sense of compasSion to the people who use cannabis and relieve a better quality of life. The benefits of medical marijuana are not given enough importance and it is does not to be screeds of heavy medical jargon. As a person who has trained to assist people manage their drug use I support any person who uses cannabis to improve their quality of life. Cannabis boosts appetite. Those munchies are not a joke but can be a life saver for those affected by nausea and eating disorders. One of the proven benefits of cannabis is sleep. Have too much cannabis and you will fall asleep. Not fall unconscious. Patient centred treatment is the gold standard of care. My belief is if a person has been using cannabis and feels a benefit it is a good thing. If a person has an illness and wants to try cannabis, they should not fear the law. The law is there to protect people from harm and currently the law is harming those 25,000 people arrested for cannabis use every year.

Monday 26 January 2015

Why Dakta Green and the Daktory Three should be found innocent of any crime.

The slang saying goes, "No Victim, No Crime. Cannabis use in New Zealand in this year of 2015 should not be a crime. I caught Dakta Green in an unguarded moment and I was shocked to see his usual confidence missing. The thought of going to jail is not a pleasant one for a 60'something. Nor is Dakta Green's fiance Gizi doing well. She already went to jail for 9 weeks on an illegal search and arrest. She made bail and has been compliant the whole time. Dakta Green and his partner can no longer reside in their building nor can they operate their cannabis club. As a person who often visited the Daktory to gather research I was able to complete my Post graduate study in health science and write about cannabis clubs in Holland and around the world. I also can speak with authority using my notes gained from observational visits to the daktory. The first thing you noticed about the Daktory, was the cavernous size of the old automotive warehouse and the smell of cannabis. I was still living in Christchurch completing a post graduate degree in health studies. I worked at an addiction treatment centre but my independent study topic was cannabis use in New Zealand. I met Dakta Green in 2006 at a norml function or AGM and then was fascinated by the daktory idea. The Daktory took on board the same set of safety rules that dutch cannabis cafes used. small size of baggie only. set price per gram 5 gram max No alcohol or other drugs R 18. I think having a better cafe and regular employment for staff, with a better standard of presentation and customers bringing their own is probably the only model that New Zealand can expect to see for a few years if the court punishes Dakta Green for running a safe alternative to drinking. New Lynn is a suburb located in the west where very strict alcohol restrictions apply. The Portage Licenicing trust control the supply of alcohol and alcohol is not sold in super markets , there are very few bars and all the bottle stores are part of a chain. Young people typically pre-load in Avondale, New lynn, Henderson and Te Atatu before racing down the motor way into the city. The Daktory grew and as it grew in popularity I never saw any violence. With no alcohol consumed in the Daktory or sold at the Daktory no drunks were admitted either. There was a range of drinks and snacks for sale and the people were happy to buy lollies and talk and play pool . It was a safe environment and as a female it was a safe environment free from drunken sexual leering or banter. Usually it was quiet enough to have a conversation although there were dj's sometimes and also movie nights. I don't know what the Judge is thinking or how he will react. I know that Dakta Green has an excellent lawyer. I wasn't able to be in Auckland last week or come to court to show my support. I heard that many else thought that their solidarity would be done by someone else. I think all the people that visited the Daktory and saw the what the future of cannabis clubs look like, need to jog that memory and pay your respects to Dakta Green next week as he sits in court. Dakta Green has been a unique and passionate advocate for cannabis law reform in his own steadfast and committed way for years. Many have supported him along the path of this journey. Two others are also in court. No one should be in court for cannabis offences because cannabis should not be an offence. The use of cannabis is legal if i take a flight West to Australia or East to California. It is only a stubborn right wing government and politicians distaste to deal with the uncomfortable through relaxing of laws surrounding drug use. It isn't only the politician who is reserved about promoting cannabis law reform. I think that the tobacco lobby and the liquor industry are against any possible product that affects their profits margins. I am certain big Pharma will not be wanting to see people stop using their prescribed meds in order to go with the way they feel using cannabis. Feelings that are demonstrated in thousands of medical studies showing that cannabis is beneficial for multiple conditions. The most common are sleeplessness and insomnia, anorexia and pain relief. Why would any just and humane society sentence an old man to prison for selling a product only adults could access and then only if they wanted to. None of the people who went to that Daktory and consumed cannabis should feel any less guilty than Dakta Green or collectively you are all guilty of his crime. Not supporting Dakta Green in court this week is selfish and mean. Dakta Green deserves a rally of unequal support. This man is a legend and equivalent to status to an all black coach. He gave the people of Auckland a club. A club to allow the safe use of cannabis and free from gangs or intimidation Dakta Green should also be noted for the Armistice tour from Waiatangi, and the small posse who protested outside Parliament with a white flag- Asking for an end to the drug war and peace. He also took the bus Mary Jane to 42 cities in New Zealnd. He gave some hope to the people of Christchurch after the second earth quake and was there, in Timaru for local man Peter Davies who grew cannabis for medicine for his wheel chair bound partner. Tracey has only recently passed a way. We held an all night vigil for them outside the court to protest this injustice. We cannot give up the fight. No patient should die waiting for cannabis and Dakta Green should not be fearing a prison sentence for his project which did only good for this community. As an AOD counsellor, I had an informal discussion with police about the people who visit the Daktory, are a lot different to those leaving bars. For one they dont urinate or vomit. they don't leave empty bottles to break or cans to pick up. They don't fight each other or make loud noises. There has never been a sexual assault. The police wouldn't confirm my explanation for a lowered crime rate. but I hope that justice is served and the beginning of the end of the war on people has begun. I hope Dakta Green walks free.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Andrew Little and Labour are wrong about cannabis

A decade ago, a group in Christchurch looked into the issue of drug testing in the work place, and in particular looked at the unfairness of the pre-employment test. A better and more accurate test to prevent injuries would be using a breatha-lyser for alcohol. Not so long ago a more broad based form of drug testing was to take place for all suitable job applicants on WINZ benefits. Again the value of this practice versus the cost and benefits of the exercise see only the tester benefiting. Failing a drug test because you have cannabis or other drugs in your system does not make you a bad employee. Cannabis is a drug that is remains in low non-active levels in the blood system for weeks. This does not mean you are impaired or stoned. It may mean you went to a party last weekend and shared a joint or it may mean you are a regular cannabis user and see it valuable for treating your illness. This is why cannabis is a health issue not a criminal issue for many medical marijuana users in New Zealand. The media is particularly bad at reporting numbers as facts where as they may show nothing. A recent coroners report found that 40% of the quad bike accidents on farms were stoned. This is untrue and cannot be claimed. What the truth is and should be reported as such, that the Coroners report showed some cannabis was present in the system. There needs to be a scale to measure what levels are indicative of use within the past 1 or 2 hours. Last nights cone before bed is not the reason the quad bike caused a death. It may be the rider was not wearing any safety gear or protective helmet. In Canada it has been unlawful to drug test workers as it does not measure impairment and is deemed an abuse of your human rights. I think to claim to be pro-work party that Labour stands for the worker, a policy such as not looking at the decriminalisation of cannabis and it's subsequent law changes is a step in the wrong direction. If you are not moving forward it's maintaining the status quo which is going backward while others move forward. As a person looking at a cannabis charge I am not feeling like a criminal or even a harm doer. My use of cannabis is my choice. As an educated drug counsellor I can describe what safe cannabis use looks like in America where it is legal. I can see no evidence why New Zealand should not develop a legal cannabis industry. When the leader of the Opposition publicly states that the Labour party will not be relaxing any cannabis laws I feel ill. It seems to me there is a lack of compassion and understanding what the rest of the world is rediscovering about the medical uses of cannabis.To be so blunt takes away the hope the a growing number of parents are needing with exemptions to the current law which prevents the use of medical marijuana. Why not allow people to use cannabis. Why not allow sick children to use cannabis for epilepsy under medical guidance? What is the point of not allowing people to grow their own cannabis if it makes them feel they achieve a greater quality of health? I for one cannot understand the position Andrew Little and the Labour Party has taken. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Greens have a very big group of potential voters wanting better. We want to be patients not criminals , How can anyone not understand that?

Thursday 20 November 2014

When the odds are stacked against you. Don't quit.

I confess to be overwhelmed. In the past month I have suffered a horrendous amount of verbal abuse, threats and extortion which I will not dredge up again, but if you are reading this I think you saw what was posted about my family and myself. I was blackmailed and abused, threatened till I went to the police and finally a move out of Auckland was the safest for myself and the 2 year old I have custody of. I celebrated my birthday In Auckland with a party of 10 and Wing Wah restaurant. Some time after that I was stopped at a check point for a breath test which I passed. When the Police ran my name through the computer the bail conditions came up and they then decided that they could smell cannabis and searched my car. Bingo! I spent the night in a cell instead of letting off my fire works. Even more ridiculous was the search and 10 minute arrest of my daughter's Father . See my facebook competition page next week! At 2 am I was woken in my cell and taken to the interview room by a very junior Jarrod Hood of the traffic police to record my video comment , which was a short No Comment. Is it normal to wake people to do interviews when they have made it clear that they are not going to speak? Thanks Jarrod. The police also found 1800 in 100 bills in an ANZ envelope and seized it. I said that money is borrowed and for my lawyer as you know I am due in court on the next day. To no avail .A very stupid woman police officer was called and she insisted on making a mention of this to CYFs. I am a CYFs caregiver and have gained custody of my grandson through the court, off and out of CYFs care. I am a good parent. In my car at time time of the breath test was my 14 year old daughter and my 2 year old grandson. I think that the police lady must think that a bag of plant material puts children in danger. Um I was gobsmacked and thought this to be excessively heavy handed. I have even written to the Ministry of social development last year(2013) to ask the question under the Official Information Act : How many children of the 3869 children in state care were removed from their home due to cannabis? How many children children have been removed from parents due to cannabis and no other drug use? I am not a P manufacturer or user. I have no gang connections and I am a Cannabis activist and trying to Establish a Green Cross In Auckland. I have no other convictions and am not violent nor do I possess any weapons! I am not a roast buster or a drunk driver. I am a 49 year old Mother, Grandmother and drug and alcohol counsellor. What happened to GODZONE, when I was growing up, my elder brother and sister were uni students and we went to protests about social rights and human rights. I think we have gone backwards. things now are less free, jobs are less well paid and secure. I got new bail conditions to reside in Paeroa and have a curfew. I got a phone call from CYfs wanting to talk about cannabis and the 14 year old. I said she lives in Auckland with her Dad. Then after coming home from the library,(my new office), as I cannot go back to my former business, without breaching my bail. Togo to retrieve my printer and art and pack up my cafe I may be arrested.Twp people were lurking at the bottom of my drive way. I thought crap, who sent these people. They didn't immediately identify themselves but once I had ascertained that they were from CYFs acting as police puppets I got really angry and said ACT professionally. Would it be too difficult for your people to make an appointment? It is professional. Second why not look up my file and see what the circumstances actually are. I felt the menacing intent of hungry and desperate people going after nothing. I then drove down to the local CYFS office with my file, the court documents and the previous social workers report . I have not heard back from them. Not even to return or pick up my documents. But I don't expect much from that lot and am never disappointed. It goes on. The next day soon after 9pm a loud knocking at the door woke me. I looked out the window and saw a police car. Right, I forgot I am such a criminal alone at home in bed and in charge of A TWO YEAR OLD! Bail check. Of course a bail check! There are unsolved murder cases in this town, rapists and murders, child abusers and drunk drivers but I am deemed important enough to visit. Today the news came in the post that The New Zealand Police at the Auckland Harbour Bridge, had contacted the IRD on my behalf to deduct 1800 from inland revenue because I owe exactly the same amount. I owe Inland Revenue a whole lot more than that as i have a student loan of $7219.20. I can only assume that the police are once again overstepping the bounds of their authority. On contacting the IRD and sending them the withdrawal slip from the ANZ i was informed i can have this money returned. The IRD informed the Police actions were unlawful. I am stunned at the malice the Police are showing. I am not bitter about my situation but as Facebook friends, time to be a real friend and show your support for my efforts. I am asking everyone who has been to my cafe to consider how I helped you and now need your help back. I am really optimistic that you people are smart enough to realise the risk I took was for you and not me. It was to push law reform along in this country. If I had been making a profit from my cafe as the police allege I would not be asking you for this money. I have been locked out of my business and chance to earn which is also unlawful as I believe i am innocent till proven guilty.

Monday 3 November 2014

We don't want to be criminals, We want to be patients.

Drugs! It is a word that has dark connotations for many if not all. Medicine as a word, equates with Health and have positive connotations as a whole. But drugs and medicine, are in many cases one and the same. What creates the different meaning of the word drug is when a drug is abused or misused. A person who is dependent on substances is labelled a drug addict or abuser but not a medicine addict! The language that surrounds the use of drugs in today's society, shapes the opinion of the people in it. About a decade ago I did a literature at Canterbury university on The Public health Message on Cannabis. I researched all articles that the Ministry of health produced and I then broadened my search to new paper articles and also medical journals and some magazines. The consistent message I obtained was there were very few articles. some were not made public. Some were not released and most were negative. There was no articles suggesting that cannabis had beneficial properties. In 1996 The state of California legalised cannabis for medical use under the supervision of a medical doctor and on obtaining a card stating your eligibility to purchase and use medicial marijuana. I went to see this system in action by visiting an amazing generous man called Doctor David Bearman. He is one of the founders of a local youth health services at the university in Santa Barbara called Isla Vista and is a crusader for better public health . I think he is a super star and was friends with the legend the late Jake Herer. Doctor Bearman cited the research of Tod Mikuraya another pioneer in prescribing cannabis for Vietnam war veterans. Cannabis was effective in reducing the reliance on alcohol. Many of the veterans returned with PTSD or shell shock and many self medicated with alcohol. excessive drinking by many soldiers had a damaging effect of their lives and health. Cannabis was a useful tool in reducing the amount the former soldiers drank. it is no secret that cannabis and other drugs are banned in the military but the drinking culture of the enlisted has been a problem. The drinking culture of the Army has resulted in a change. Less drinking is now the norm. Cannabis is a relaxant for many. It can even be a sedative and is very useful for sleep problems. People suffering from over use of amphetamines , speed , cocaine or P have all been treated successfully in reducing the withdrawal symptoms by using cannabis. The people I meet and talk to on a daily basis are in pain. They suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. some are insomninac's who can't sleep. others are reducing their reliance on opioids as inevitably depence and misuse are a common factor in certain types of medication. If someone rolls a herbs and has a few puffs for their fibromyalgia should they be arrested or supported? If some eats a cannabis cookie to help them sleep through the night is that wrong/ If an adult chooses to use a cannabis derived oil for epilepsy is that wrong when it is far more effective than the prescribed meds and without half the side effects? When are people going to get a fair deal on medications from marijuana? Cannabis was a commonly used and available medicine from Chemists last century. It was available as a tincture and for coughs. No one has ever died from cannabis as there is no effective lethal dose known or recorded. But despite all the evidence and all the people in countries around the world New Zealand is in the last century with its stance on the medicinal herb.