Paula Gray is a criminal.

She is also a mother, a grandmother, a Christian, a farmer and, perhaps, a victim.

Because the Taranaki woman says she must break the law every day in order to to treat her fibromyalgia, a painful and debilitating condition that causes her severe muscle and joint pain, stiffness and fatigue.

“Taking marijuana keeps my pain at bay and my joints moving freely,” she says. “I’ve never found anything else that works. I’ve tried so many other things through the years.”

Trouble is, quite apart from marijuana being illegal, Gray is having trouble finding the one substance she believes makes her life bearable.

So last week she took her search online. In part to find cannabis but also to express her frustration and start debate on the laws that make her a criminal, she posted an advertisement on Buy and Sell New Plymouth’s Facebook page.

“I would like to buy some pot,” she wrote.

The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive, she says. Within hours she had 10 users contact her directly to congratulate her on her “bravery” before her post was deleted.

“I did it because I am sick of being offered P. I am sick of being offered E, or not-pot or a trip. All those things will ruin your life. I just want marijuana with a high cannabinoid content. I need it to treat my fibromyalgia.

“I don’t think anyone should have to smoke marijuana and be forced to buy it from dealers. It should be made available to us in medicinal form.

“I’m not saying it’s a miracle drug,” she says. “It doesn’t work for everyone, just like any medication, but it needs to be made an option.”

Whether you believe Gray is genuine or not, increasingly, in other parts of the world pot, marijuana, cannabis, whatever you want to call it, is an accepted option for the treatment of everything from back pain to nausea to headaches. It is touted by users as being effective in treating seizures, easing nerve pain, glaucoma and some say it’s the only thing that reduces their anxiety.

This week dozens of people asked about their use of marijuana to treat themselves for a variety of ailments. For all except one, they talked only on condition of anonymity, for fear of the repercussions such an admission would have with their family, friends and or their employment.

Because despite 10 states in the US, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands instituting specific regimes for medicinal cannabis use, and despite neighbouring Australia moving towards allowing its use there, in New Zealand there is no such momentum.

Cannabis, regardless of why you use it, is illegal and it looks likely to stay that way with new Justice Minister Amy Adams saying she is not currently considering any moves to allow the medicinal use of marijuana here.

She said: “I have seen no evidence that supports the benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise, outweighing the harm it causes to society.

“The potential harms from smoking cannabis are well documented and I have no plans to soften the Government’s stance on what is commonly considered a gateway drug to more harmful substances such as P.”

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AMY-ADAMS                                                                                                                        National MP Amy Adams

Here is a great example of the either misinformed or simply ignorant Justice minister Amy Adams advising on a topic she clearly knows very little about. 

Examples of studies concluding the gateway theory to be false include a 2002 study based on recent survey data on nearly 4,000 children and young adults which finds:

● No significant impact of soft drug use on the risk of later involvement with crack and heroin.

● Very little impact of soft drug use on the risk of later involvement in crime.

Add to this the peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of School Health which found that cannabis is not the gateway drug, but instead the most commonly used legalised drug in New Zealand, alcohol, is the precursor to use of much harder drugs like amphetamines. 

‘While it may not settle the debate over how drug use begins, researchers found that alcohol, not marijuana, is the gateway drug that leads teens down the path of hard drug use, according to a new study that will be published in the August edition of the Journal of School Health.

Researchers looked at data from over 14,500 students from 120 public and private schools in the United States to evaluate whether students had used any of 11 substances, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, amphetamines, tranquilizers and other narcotics. They found that more often than not, alcohol was the first substance students tried before moving on to other drugs.

“I am confident in our findings and the clear implications they have for school-based prevention programs. By delaying and/or preventing the use of alcohol, these programs can indirectly reduce the rate of use of other substances,” Barry said in a statement.

Alcohol was also the most commonly used substance, according to the study. More than 70 percent of students reported using alcohol at some point during their lifetime, compared to only 45 percent who reported using tobacco and 43 percent who used marijuana.

Researchers also found that students who used alcohol were up to 16 times more likely to use illicit drugs.’

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Cannabis use in New Zealand registered 14.6% of adults in 2007 compared to methamphetamine use at 2% in 2009. With this in mind, wouldn’t we expect to see a much higher corresponding figure of people using meth if according to Amy Adams, cannabis users progress on to smoking meth?

It is widely known that the large majority of people who smoke cannabis do not progress to using dangerous drugs such as amphetamines, just as the large majority of people who drink alcohol also do not then move on to hard illicit drugs. The current National government however won’t let facts get in the way of publicly spreading misinformation to keep the war on drugs consuming more victims in New Zealand.

We challenge the Justice Minister to indicate to New Zealand which studies she bases her view on so they can be publicly scrutinised. If she has instead based her opinion on the misinformation and propaganda from the 60’s which still dictates National Party policy, we request that Adams revisit the research and see that the ‘gateway theory’ has proven false. Anything less than this proves incompetence in the role of Justice Minister and should be replaced with someone informed. 


For anyone wanting to know more about cannabis and how the current war on drugs has failed around the world, please watch this excellent documentary ‘The Culture High’

9 Responses

  1. mike

    Been fugly is the gateway to a future career as a National government minister of Justice

  2. Rick

    Water is a gateway drink to Alcoholism.
    I just wish that politicians understood cause and effort better

  3. Michelle

    Why is there so many uninformed people running this country. Wake up Amy Adams, you are supposed to keep up with world current events. A year since Marijuana legislation was introduced in Colorado. No spike in crime as the pessimists predicted, quite the contrary. Colorado police stats show a defineate drop in violent and drug related crime.The state has collected $60 million on tax revenue from sales of marijuana, of which $4 million was put straight back into communities to subsidise medical services and increase drug education facilities. I can only see advantages in legalising Marijuana. Maybe we should prohibit Amy Adams instead, if she continues to news of world advances. Informed decisions are far more likely to be appropriate. Better yet, insist she partakes in the inhalation of the magic ganja, she may adopt some empathy and compassion for those enduring an illness that cannabis could alleviate the symptoms of, possibly even cure them of their ailment completely. Give us the right to choose cannabis as our preferred medicine if we desire to. Wake up New Zealand! (Go back to sleep amy)

  4. John Doe

    The original article on Paula Gray published in the Taranaki Herald has been used as the first section of this piece. It failed to explain why Paula Gray wasn’t buying her cannabis from her son, given that he’s a drug dealer.

    Nor did it explain why her partner had committed suicide, what was it about their relationship that led him to that?

    • Rosie

      That’s not anyone’s business what happened to her partner / husband,you need to walk in someone else shoes before you criticise others.

      • Sonja Marie Lawson

        I agree and I know what it is like to have people close to you commit suicide and I also know what it is like having chronic physical medical conditions that conventional treatment does not help in fact that is how I ended up with stuffed health. From so called health professionals that did not treat my actual medical conditions including ME but instead treated me for crap I never suffered from including mental illness. I have never had mental, psychological or psychiatric illness in my life. ME is a physical auto immune disorder with no mental component. Natural and alternative treatment works without side effects and if a person opts to use a product that helps them then they should not be vilified or victimised merely for not wanting to use conventional treatment. I too have been victimised by so called health professionals and government for speaking out and going against the mainstream medical profession. And I have the guts to put my name to posts and comments not like many people that have no idea what it is like for people like me and others. Keyboard warriors are gutless. I am innocent and honest and fight for justice. There is no such thing as free will or being allowed to be in control of your own health and life.

  5. Mick McCrohon

    Adams is a simpleton if she believes this, most meth users started with alcohol before moving onto meth!

  6. Brent

    Amy you are sadly out of touch being the MP of a region where meth is rife particularly in the farm contracting industry.. eg shearing! why? They can work continuously. The only real connection between the two is that the meth heads deal pot to pay for their habit… Leave it out


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