TRIALS ON MEDICINAL MARIJUANA OUT SOON
The results of British trials that may pave the way for the use of cannabis as a medicine in New Zealand will be out within two months.
Last year the Government said it would consider allowing the use of an under-the-tongue cannabis spray as a form of pain relief if the British trials of similar products proved safe.
That followed a three-year health select committee inquiry which recommended that the Government look at ways of legalising the medicinal use of the Class C drug.
The British trials into a cannabis product called Sativex should be finished by the end of the year.
Development company GW Pharmaceuticals had hoped to be finished by last April.
Its website says the company submitted applications to market Sativex to British health authorities in May, and trials of the product with cancer sufferers are still underway.
But Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has not included Sativex in its September/October list of medicines newly approved for marketing.
Until the product is approved and the process can begin here, cannabis users such as Christchurch's Neville Yates, yesterday jailed for five months, must abide by the law.
Yates, who is severely crippled and brain-damaged, was convicted of growing plants even though the Crown accepted that the marijuana was for medicinal use.
Christchurch Central MP Tim Barnett said yesterday that Yates' case "has vast complexities".
He did not condone Yates' law-breaking, but said it was hard to see how prison would act as a deterrent to people in pain.