Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2003
Author: Duncan Eddy


ONE HUNDRED and eighty multiple sclerosis sufferers in this country will 
receive fully funded beta interferon treatment from Pharmac ( ODT , 
13.01.01). Great, but what about the thousands of New Zealanders still 
suffering without government subsidised medication? At $18,000 a year, the 
cost of beta interferon therapy is the main hurdle preventing sufferers 
from receiving the treatment. It's no secret to many MS sufferers and 
doctors that cannabis use alleviates the tremors and spasticity of MS, 
without bringing on the unpleasant side effects that interferon can entail.

Marijuana is cheap. It grows like a weed. All it needs is sunlight, earth 
and water. The problem with using this natural medicine is that, like 
Auckland tetraplegic Daniel Clark, you run the risk of illegality. Cannabis 
prohibition prevents thousands of New Zealanders from accessing this herbal 
remedy with a plethora of beneficial medicinal uses. Worse, some medical 
marijuana users, like Mr Clark, end up behind bars. Cannabis prohibition 
affects far more people than just recreational drug users. It appears that 
when it comes to cannabis legislation, all concepts of humanity and common 
sense are thrown out the window.

Duncan Eddy

National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws