Medical Marijuana Experts to Visit New Zealand

August 25, 2004

, Kiwi News

Experts and officials from government-sanctioned medical marijuana programmes in The Netherlands, Canada, and the United States will be visiting New Zealand 26-30 May.

In recent years, governments around the world have begun re-legalising the use of marijuana (cannabis) by patients with chronic pain and other forms of suffering, such as muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis, appetite enhancement in patients with terminal conditions, and nausea due to chemotherapy.

A parliamentary health select committee recently recommended that New Zealand consider making cannabis-based medicines available to suffering patients. However, no consensus yet exists on how to proceed.

The Drug Policy Forum Trust (DPFT) has invited overseas experts from leading international programmes to provide a private briefing to its trustees concerning the detailed workings of these programmes. The DPFT will then write a report containing recommendations for a medical marijuana programme in New Zealand.

The visiting experts are:

Willem Scholten, PharmD, MPA
Head, Office of Medicinal Cannabis
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports
The Hague, The Netherlands
Peer Neeleman, M.D. Head, Pain Center Sub-Department Department of Anesthesia University Hospital
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Robin O’Brien, D.Pharm Member, Advisory Committee to Health Canada’s Office of Cannabis Medical Access Formerly with BC Cancer Association Vancouver, BC, Canada

Hilary Black
Director, British Columbia Compassion Club Society
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Valerie and Mike Corral
Wo/men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Consultants, San Francisco Medical Cannabis Initiative
Santa Cruz, CA, USA

In addition to the private briefing, to be held in Kaikoura, the visiting experts will give two presentations in Wellington, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, 26-27 May. The time and place for both sessions is 7:30pm at the Old Government Buildings, Room LT3, 3 Lambton Quay. These presentations are free and open to the public. The speakers will be available for private briefings and press interviews on the above days.

For more information contact Drug Policy Forum Trust on 083 275 557 email:

The Drug Policy Forum Trust is an independent group of doctors and other professionals who support evidence-based drug policies. They have published reports (see, testified at parliamentary select committee hearings, held educational seminars for MPs, and engaged in many similar activities. Current trustees are Prof Fred Fastier, D.Sc., D.Phil., Dr Robin Briant, MD, FRACP, Dr John McPartland, D.O., and Dr David Hadorn, M.D., Ph.D. (director).

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