For a Hawke’s Bay man, flouting the law to use medicinal cannabis is part of staying alive.
It was a thought which never crossed the straight-laced man’s mind prior to 2016.
But when the 70-year-old, who did not wish to be identified, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September that year, he was forced to go underground.
He knows he is breaking the law, but believes it is “ethical”
“I did heaps of research, naturally, about it all, and when I saw how successful it was, I started taking it that very month.”
He says it “wasn’t too difficult” sourcing the cannabis. It was more the high price – between $300 to $350 for one ounce.
“It has got to be really high-impact, concentrate … one ounce will produce a tablespoon of oil and that will probably last a couple of months.”
He started radiation treatment in April and finished in June 2017, while taking the illicit drug and blood tests soon after revealed he was in remission.
He not tell his medical team what he was doing.
And while the man, doesn’t know whether it was the medicinal cannabis which cured him, he believes it helped particularly with preventing side effects to the treatment.
“The evidence is quite clear,” he says.
This week, the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament, in a bid to give terminally ill people a legal defence for using illicit cannabis products.
But the man believes it is too little, too late.
“It’s such tiny steps. What they are putting through is not good enough.
“What are they afraid of? Look what happened in America; state after state is making it legal and Canada has made it legal for recreational use. Why is New Zealand lagging behind?”
At more than 17 months cancer free, the 70-year-old still uses the substance, intermittently as a “preventative”