Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 2016
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2016 New Zealand Herald
Page: A20


Former union boss Helen Kelly, who has lung cancer, has written to
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne seeking permission to use
medicinal cannabis.

"He said it took him an hour once he got the last application, so I'm
hoping to hear today," Ms Kelly said.

She is already using cannabis oil to ease her pain, and said the drug
had been "brilliant" for helping with nausea, lost appetite, and pain
relief following chemotherapy.

She now wants a legal, regular supply of the drug.

"I want it in a form that is metered," she said. "The product that
I've applied for has got a much weaker strength in the daytime and a
stronger strength at night. I don't want to be stoned in the day. And
if I take morphine or cannabis during the day, it stops you doing what
you want to do."

Patients can apply to the Ministry of Health to get access to one form
of medical cannabis, Sativex, which has been cleared for use in New

Ms Kelly is seeking approval for a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis,
which does not have approval in New Zealand.

This has a stricter set of criteria for approval and requires the
patient to be very ill or dying and in hospital when the treatment

Ms Kelly resigned from the Council of Trade Unions in October.