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An illicitly-operating ‘green fairy’ is distributing medicinal marijuana to about 150 people in Queenstown.

The man, who doesn’t want to be named, says many of his clients aren’t able to get effective medicine through legitimate health professionals.

But, as of April 1, a medicinal cannabis scheme will come into law – a change which not only legalises medical cannabis, but makes it more accessible to the public.

“Law changes are coming in, but doctors aren’t keeping up or seem uninterested,” the Queenstown green fairy says.

Instead, people are coming to him to receive their prescriptions.

“Natural products need to be more accessible to people.

“The black market is thriving.

“I’m doing the job the government should be doing.”

A Queenstown woman, who’s got chronic arthritis, says cannabis oil purchased from the Queenstown green fairy’s changed her life.

“I was not expecting to experience such relief,” the 40-year-old, who doesn’t want to be named, says.

Diagnosed as a 12-year-old, she says conventional medicine’s never worked for her.

“I now have so much more energy, I am working to my optimum level.

“It gets me emotional to think it’s been there the whole time.”

While the woman’s continuing to take the product twice a day, she says she has concerns about it — and not only because it comes to her illegally through the green fairy.

She believes if a licensed doctor was helping her, it would make its usage much safer and more consistent.

“I wonder if I was being assisted by a GP how we could take this to the next level?

“I would like to be able to access it medically, without having to do the ground-work myself.”

She says marijuana, used medicinally for hundreds of years, has only been perceived as a recreational drug in the past century.

“People are burning it and getting high while people that want to get medicinal properties from the plants can’t get a hold of it.”

Queenstown-based Aaron Murphy, a partner with Central Otago-based medicinal cannabis cultivation business Medigrowth New Zealand, says doctors in the Queenstown area appear to be very conservative on the matter.

Medigrowth’s set to run a medicinal cannabis conference in Cromwell this Saturday — no Queenstown doctors have expressed interest.

“The bottom line is it’s legal now in New Zealand and around the world … patients want it and they’re not going to accept ‘no’ from a doctor.

“If doctors haven’t upskilled on why and how to prescribe medicinal cannabis, then those people will still be forced to go to the black market.”

Murphy says while green fairies are operating “compassionately”, it’s still not medical cannabis.

“It’s not tested, it’s not regulated, it’s not dosed.

“So, it’s still a lucky dip; one week it’s working, the next it’s not.”

Mountain Scene tried to get comment from several resort doctors — all but one either didn’t want to say anything, or weren’t available.

But one GP — who, you guessed it, didn’t want to be named — says he was invited to the Medigrowth conference, but chose to decline.

“My impression is [medicinal marijuana] has got a heck of a lot of promise, and most doctors are not opposed to it as it’s got a lot of science behind it for quite a few conditions.

“But, I think a lot of doctors would prefer the education to come from doctors who are already experts in it, rather than the commercial growing company.”

The law change was discussed at last year’s New Zealand Medical Association conference.

hugh.collins@scene.co.nz

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