Dear Editor, in Monday’s edition of the Cook Islands News (18-7-22), Teariki Heather, the leader of the United Party, put out a lot of misleading and misinformed comments regarding the upcoming referendum on medicinal cannabis.
comments can’t go unchallenged, there is too much at stake for the betterment
of the health and wellness of the Cook Islands people.
said, “The referendum was the wrong timing and was a political move by the CIP.”
He believes, “the people have not been widely consulted on the benefits or
whatever”. Teariki thinks, “the process needs to be consulted with the people first,
then they will put it in a referendum”.
obvious Teariki hasn’t been paying any attention to the extensive coverage on
the facts of the benefits of medicinal cannabis that have been brought forth in
our newspapers, radio, TV and social media for the past year.
isn’t anyone’s fault, except Teariki, that he doesn’t have the information he
needs to know that Cook Islanders are suffering needlessly without the benefits
of medicinal cannabis products and our people are unjustly in prison for simple
possession of medical marijuana.
most of us know and now for Teariki’s information, the benefits of medicinal
cannabis are endless. The use of medical marijuana has been widely successful
in treating those who suffer from anxiety, pain, inflammation; it reduces
nausea and vomiting brought on by cancer and chemotherapy; it relaxes muscles
in people with MS; stimulates appetite and aids with weight gain in people
with terminal illness. It has also shown promise in treating severe autism as
well as ADHD, cerebral palsy, pain linked to arthritis and gout, PTSD, and is
even used in moderation during recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. Cannabinoids
are even easily available in non-psychoactive forms such as Delta-8 THC, helpful
to anyone who is sensitive to psychoactive effects more commonly associated
with Delta 9 THC or those who suffer from mental illness like BDP, depression, bipolar
negatives you might associate with cannabis come from a time of stigmatisation,
ignorantly labelling it as dangerous or drug use.
can assure you it is a God given plant meant to help people in a multitude of
goes on to say in the Cook Islands News article, “I’m concerned about our young
people ... to be addicted to that, God knows what happens to the future of this
country”. Teariki is exaggerating the adverse effects of cannabis addiction
because he doesn’t know or doesn’t understand the scientific evidence that debunks
his claim of addiction.
is far less harmful than tobacco and alcohol. Studies have shown cannabis to be
less addictive than nicotine and alcohol and on par with caffeine.
have proven that lifetime dependence rates on cannabis at 9 per cent, same as caffeine,
alcohol has a 15per cent rate of abuse and tobacco is 32 per cent. And cannabis
has been used for over 5000 years without a single human death.
should be putting more focus on alcohol abuse. The Cook Islands leads the world
per capita in alcohol consumption. Most Cook Islands women who are victims of
spousal abuse report to the police that their partner had been drinking at the
time of their suffering. And most of our youth who abuse alcohol had seen their
mothers abused or been abused themselves.
United Party says they want to help in the fight against non-communicable
disease. I’ve outlined in this letter the many ways medicinal cannabis can help
treat and alleviate a lot of the ills of NCDs, it doesn’t make any sense to
delay getting this medicine out to our people.
faulty claim Teariki made was, “by legalising it not only for medicinal
purposes it sort of creates the freedom for households, but my concern is the
adult medical use of cannabis will be legal in the Cook Islands, it will be illegal
to keep your prescription within the reach of children. Of all the reasons
medicinal cannabis consuming parents want to keep their medicine secure, none
is more important than their children’s safety.
two main reasons why it will be crucial to store medicinal cannabis
away from children will be simple – it will be the law and it keeps our
Cook Islands Government body that will regulate medicinal cannabis products
will surely recognise the need for medicinal cannabis to be dispensed in
child-resistant containers. Medicinal cannabis users will need to follow health
and safety laws like they do in NZ, Australia and throughout the world by
using child-proof materials.
on top of that there are many other ways for storing your medicinal cannabis. There
are a lot of inexpensive products online or better yet, that could be brought
in by local retailers. For example, there are many four-digit combination locks
that keep children safe from your medicinal cannabis, while their vacuum
sealed metal containers keep your cannabis fresh. It’s difficult for a child to
unscrew even after the correct combination is entered
vote yes on the medicinal cannabis referendum.