To legalise medical marijuana or not?

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

More and more patients are calling for the decriminalisation of the use of marijuana for medical purposes after more countries legalise. Paraplegic patient and his wife speak anonymously Te Kāea about how they use Cannabis and rongoā Māori for medical purposes.

“Marijuana has helped me a lot. It calms my spasm down and I can have a smoke in the morning and it will last all day,” says anonymous paraplegic patient.

A paraplegic Māori patient was forced to take over 100 pills a week after his accident in 1995. After making the decision to turn to marijuana instead, his pill intake cut down to 20 and like many in his situation, his quality of life got better.

“Obviously being on so many medications, sometimes he forgets who you are. He gets mood swings because of taking a lot of different pills. So small price to pay by having a couple of pills a day and a marijuana joint to having a full bag of pills.”

His wife says that tax is more the legal ramification of why it's not decriminalised here.

“How can our Government or our country make a profit on marijuana? Like how we make a profit on alcohol and petrol.”

They both say their quality of life has improved significantly since switching to marijuana, and now have turned to traditional Māori medicines.

“I do know that there are karakia around marijuana. Just like riw3ai Māori, kumara, anything that comes from mother earth I know that we take, we thank and we give back.”

With medical cannabis becoming more and more needed around the world, they hope that taking part in this story will help to influence a change in the law.