by Metiria Turei
Sick and injured New Zealanders deserve respect and dignity, but the prohibition laws on cannabis persecute and punish. We have highlighted this before, put legislation up to fix the system and to make it possible for people to use cannabis as a medicine. Thousands of New Zealanders agree to a compassionate law, but not yet the politicians. But the issues is urgent because people are being convicted for medicinal use.
The most recent high profile case is that of Billy Mckee. Billy should never have been arrested let alone convicted. There is a growing campaign to support him.
Billy McKee was convicted on five charges. Sentencing has been set down for Palmerston North District Court on the 30th October, 2012. Billy has been bailed to his home address while awaiting sentencing.
Billy McKee, who hosts the GreenCross NZ medical cannabis users website, was arrested in 2010 on charges relating to his medical cannabis use.
Billy campaigns for legalisation of cannabis, and considers that it is one of the best medications to deal with chronic pain.
Billy lost a leg below the knee when a drunk driver deliberately rammed his motorbike over 30 years ago. The incident resulted in him being confined to a wheelchair and in constant pain from nerve damage to the stump as well as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
The pain medications he was prescribed by doctors caused intolerable side effects where even driving was considered unsafe. He found that the only thing that controlled his pain, depression, irritability and other symptoms, while still allowing him to function, was cannabis.
This led him to study the medical benefits of cannabis, become a counsellor and form GreenCross, an organisation devoted to helping sick people obtain relief through the medicinal use of cannabis.
McKee now faces jail time for running GreenCross and helping sick patients obtain their medicine.
He was entrapped by an undercover police officer posing as someone suffering from severe migraines. McKee said that migraines can indicate in the early stages of brain tumors and many people have found that cannabis relieves the symptoms of migraines and allows them to function normally.
McKee accepted the young man as being a genuine sufferer. The undercover cop appealed to his compassion in asking Billy to supply him with cannabis. Billy says, “I was really worried about him.”