12 Jul 2016

Grey Power chapter wants cannabis legalised

10:59 am on 12 July 2016

A group of Northland retirees who have never taken illegal drugs have started a petition to legalise marijuana.

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Photo: AFP

The Otamatea chapter of Grey Power unanimously voted in May in favour of legalising the drug.

They have now started a petition, which they sent out to all the other 32 Grey Power chapters around the country.

Otamatea Grey Power president Beverley Aldridge said the drug had been used medically for over 10,000 years and it was only since 1961 when many governments made it illegal.

"None of our [members] actually takes it yet, but we want to be able to take it. We've seen our loved ones - you know, family and friends - dying in extreme pain and we don't want to go through that."

However, she was not confident the petition would find as much support elsewhere in elderly communities.

"We sent letters out to other Grey Power chapters and I wasn't able to explain to them or show them any research and I would imagine that the other Grey Power chapters most of them are against what we are doing I suppose."

The petition, launched last month, had only 78 signatures so far, but the group was hopeful more would sign before the end of the month.

She said she would present the petition to Northland MP Winston Peters.

"It's his obligation to actually present it for us and I'm sure we'll be able to convince him because he's getting on as well."

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said in May there would be no change to guidelines on prescribing cannabis-based products.

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