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‘Vicious and uncivilised’ marijuana laws

Tuesday 6 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


‘Vicious and uncivilised’ marijuana laws

Dear Editor, Did you know that under the Ministry of Health Act 2013 that marijuana fits the description of a medicine? In the Act it reads in part that, “Medicine means any substance whether of animal, plant or synthetic origin which is used internally or externally for alleviating disease”.

And that is the description of medical marijuana, it is a plant and an alleviant of physical and mental afflictions as is noni.

Medical marijuana and noni are not listed in the Act as a medicine, even though we know they both are and subsequently they can’t be classified as a prescription drug.

There is nothing in the Act that prevents the self-medication of a medicine and as long as one doesn’t sell, distribute, import, gift or loan, sample, publish/advertise and manufacture (and marijuana when only cultivated and not processed into making wares by hand or machine doesn’t violate the provisions in the Act).

The big difference is marijuana is a narcotic and noni isn’t. But here in lies the problem that could easily be rectified by TMO (Te Marae Ora). The MOH recently stated that, “TMO is guided by an approved process for all medication imported into the Cook Islands, to ensure the safety of our people. That process sets out what is approved for medical use which can be used by the Cook Islands.”  But that statement isn’t the whole truth. The rest of the truth is that there are provisions in the Cook Islands Essential Medicines Schedule, approved medicines and classes of medication that are not so approved. And these not so approved medicines are signalled out by the Health Regulators that make up the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Agency that have classified medicinal marijuana as meeting the minimum quality standard that ensures the consistency and quality of the products that medical practitioners prescribe to their patients.

TMO has only approved two medicinal cannabis products for importation, while as of 7-11-22, there are 22 medicinal cannabis products that meet the minimum quality standard of the NZ Medical Cannabis Agency. We have every right to receive these products but TMO is twisting themselves into knots to stop their legal importation. We are being treated like second class citizens in our own country while the Prime Minister gives his rubber stamped approval to this human indignity of not allowing medicinal marijuana to be accessed by those patients suffering physical and emotional pain.

The PM needs to oversee that marijuana is put on the Cook Islands Essential Medicine Schedule, this can easily be done because the MOH Act 2013 is in conflict with the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004 regarding the laws on marijuana because legal scholars of Parliamentary Law tell us, “Essential to Parliament’s legislative supremacy is the principle that Parliament is not bound by its predecessors and cannot bind its successors”. It follows that where a later Act of Parliament, the MOH Act 2013 conflicts with an earlier one the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004, the latter one the MOH Act 2013 cannot be read as conditioned by or subject to the earlier. Rather the latter statue is considered to have repealed the earlier one by implication to the extent of the conflict.

Haven’t we all seen enough of these High Court Judges sentencing our men and women for medicinal cannabis use and cultivation when we the people of the Cook Islands overwhelmingly want this to be recognised as an acceptable social norm and no longer want to live under these


Steve Boggs