Medicinal cannabis seizure ‘concerning’: MP

A police seizure of medicinal cannabis from a Roxburgh man is ‘‘deeply concerning’’ and shows officers are likely not aware of the law, an MP says.

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick said a lack of police understanding of the law might have caused the roadside seizure of Chris Stuart’s prescription medicine in Alexandra on April 23.

‘‘[The seizure] is deeply concerning.

‘‘The only seeming explanation is lack of understanding from law enforcement about what the law actually is,’’ she said.

Mr Stuart said his health had deteriorated since the seizure, as police had still not returned his prescription medicine or answered his queries.

‘‘I can’t stop my panic attacks and headaches.

‘‘I was told the senior sergeant would call me last Wednesday . . . no call yet,’’ he said.

The medicine was cannabis containing cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which Mr Stuart had been prescribed for anxiety and PTSD by Auckland firm Cannabis Clinic in December.

During the police stop, Mr Stuart presented a medical certificate to officers, who he said made it clear they did not know the rules around medicinal cannabis.

‘‘I was treated terribly.

‘‘They were demanding to know what my ailments were . . . I felt totally discriminated,’’ he said.

A letter from his pharmacy, Te Kohao Health Nga Hua Pharmacy, also confirmed Mr Stuart’s exemption from a possession offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Sarah Helm said the case was ‘‘very concerning for patients who may now fear criminal prosecution for going about their lawful business’’.

A police spokesman said Mr Stuart would be able to collect the cannabis — ‘‘if it is able to be established that it relates to a valid prescription’’.

Police did not comment on what they meant by a valid prescription.