Monday, September 21, 2015
Campaigners for cannabis law reform are working to start a conversation they hope will get politicians to act.
At a weekend screening of documentary Druglawed at the Free House, film director Arik Reiss was joined by Nelson's Rose Renton, who had campaigned for her son to be treated with a cannabinoid oil while in intensive care, and Abe Gray who runs a cannabis museum in Dunedin, and campaigns for legalisation.
Renton's son Alex died in Wellington Hospital on July 1, he had suffered seizures and it was not known what caused them. She has since dedicated herself to cannabis law reform for both medical and recreational use.
"The Rugby World Cup comes along and with a stroke of a pen they can extend drinking hours," Renton said. "I'm pleased for them, that's great they can watch rugby and have a drink, but what about the cannabis community that would choose to eat a bit of brownie and have a good night's sleep? I really don't get the stigma to it."
She said Alex was a recreational cannabis user, and it helped with his insomnia.
"He was an excellent student with a brilliant mind."
Renton said people should have the right to choose, and said Alex would have wanted to be able to choose cannabis. She and Alex both voted for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in the 2014 election.
Gray spoke about a nationwide online campaign to "destigmatise the plant" and to open up a conversation to get politicians to legalise the use of the plant. Called 'Let's Start the Conversation' Gray said the aim was to have ads on TV about issues around prohibition.
He wanted people to be open about their use to show prohibition was not working, he said.
The film documented the history of cannabis prohibition in the USA and New Zealand, outlining political and economic reasons for its prohibition. It argued New Zealand mirrored the USA's war on drugs, and prohibition was failing.
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