New Zealand's MPs will vote this afternoon for legalization. The government's plan is to make medical cannabis more widely available.
But some advocates of legalization have concerns. They believe lawmakers view the new law as a "compromise position". Cannabis activists believe this compromise would set aside the original and more innovative project of the Green Party.
It exists two laws presented today and tomorrow. One of them is a proposal and the other is a legislative amendment.
The government's bill lays the foundation for a regulated medical cannabis industry. It also allows terminally ill people to use illicitly obtained cannabis in the last year of their life. This law is being voted on today.
Green MP Chloe Swarbrick's bill would allow patients to grow their own plant - with a doctor's permission - to treat a terminal or disabling illness. It would be a return to a old practice New Zealand. This latest project will be presented to Parliament on Wednesday.
Rebecca Reider, medical cannabis user and activist, hopes for the adoption of the two pieces of legislation.
"I hope members won't be confused by the fact that two projects are coming at the same time… we really need them, they are proposing quite different things. "
She said government legislation was not enough. She believes that she still criminalizes many people who were suffering.
“This is not a compromise position, it is a weak position. They said it was the best they could do to get something in the House and I hope we will be able to prove it. "
The group of lawyers, Gray Power, is in the odd position of disagreeing with aspects of the two bills, while hoping to see them passed.
Gray Power chairman Tom O'Connor said the government's bill was too restrictive and there were too many hurdles to jump through.
But he added that the efforts of the Greens went too far.
“It would be tempting fate to allow people to grow cannabis at home for their own medical needs among tomatoes and potatoes. They would never harvest it to begin with, because people would go over the fence to steal it anyway. "
However, Mr. O'Connor hoped for the adoption of both drafts. So a special committee can debate it.
“These things need to be discussed in public and we would like this discussion to be as broad as possible. "
Bob McCoskrie of the Christian lobby group Family First NZ also reacted. According to him, a special committee should study the government's more “prudent and sophisticated” legislation.
But he added that Ms. Swarbrick's bill deserved the trash.
“It is unrecoverable. It's a bill that says “grow your own stuff”. "
The Greens' bill needs at least 61 votes to cross the electoral threshold and will likely need the support of some members of the National Opposition Party.
The parties are meeting this morning to decide whether they want to let their MPs use their freedom to vote. This means that members can choose to vote regardless of party line.