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Drafting an Amending Bill in New Zealand

Question:

Discuss about the Legal Writing and Research Communication Law Drugs Act 1975.

The proposed amendment draft is the principal act of Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. The primary objective of the proposed amendment is to legalize the usage of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.  The proposed amendment bill shall be called the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Cannabis Oil Medicinal Use Act 2016.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Parliament has the authority to amend that already existing statutes and Acts.  However, in order to amend any Act in New Zealand , the Ministers of the Parliament have to initiate the process by drafting an amending Bill which details out all the relevant sections of the principal Act which are intended to be changed, along with the primary purpose of why the said amendments are required to be implemented. Additionally, the draft bill also has to mention any changes which are to be brought about in any other act as a result of the said amendments (Boyle, 2000).

Therefore, to draft an amending bill in New Zealand, the following points are to be incorporated in the amendment bill:-

The most important and the first point in a draft amendment bill have to be the name of the Act, which is proposed to be amended. Thus, in the present case, the draft amendment bill needs to mention that it proposes to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 in New Zealand. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is a statute in New Zealand which is a drug-control statute which classified different types of drugs into three categories or group depending on their potential risk of harm and loss to human life (British Medical Association, 2014).

The next important point which requires mention in a draft amendment bill for a statute or an Act in New Zealand is the new proposed title of the amending Act. In the present case, the draft amendment bill is to be called Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Cannabis Oil Medicinal Use Act 2016. As the purpose of drafting an amendment bill is to bring about certain changes in the principal Act which are Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, the draft amendment bill should state the title of the amendment to make it clear when and what exactly is being amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is a drug control statute in New Zealand where drugs are divided into groups depending on the risk to human life they possess on consumption. Thus, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, cannabis is a Group B drug which is mentioned in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Schedule 2 along with Section 29B prohibits the production of cannabis including cannabis oil in any other form except for plant material. Cannabis oil is a sticky, thick liquid substance which is prepared from cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which are obtained from the cannabis plants (Caulkins et al., 2012).

Incorporating the Amendment Bill

After detailing out the primary object for which the amendment is proposed, the next point in a draft amendment bill should state the primary objective of why the said amendment should be implemented. Thus, in the present case, the primary purpose of the said amending bill is to proposed amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis oil. Although cannabis is a drug which can cause addiction and harmful consequences if regularly consumed, however, there are many benefits of using the same drug as a medicine. In the said draft amendment bill, section 6 and 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 state that the dealing and possessing of any drugs mentioned under any of the three groups in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is an offense. The said sections need to be amended to include an exception which highlights and permits the use of cannabis in oil form for medicinal purposes. Along with the amendment in these sections, the other section of 29B and Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 also require amendments to be in line with legalizing the usage of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.

The next point in the draft amendment bill is to state the medicinal use of cannabis oil and how legalizing the same will be beneficial to the society at large. The cannabis oil has many medicinal uses and can cure some diseases including cancer. The cannabis oil has very strong medicinal properties to cure diabetes, Crohn's disease, chronic pain, anorexia, cancer, heart diseases, obesity, schizophrenia, stress and anxiety, obesity and epilepsy. Additionally, the use of cannabis oil helps in maintaining good eye sight, alters appetite, reduces pain, promotes heart conditions, protects skin and reduces the chances of cancer (Cho et al., 2005).

After explaining in detail the many uses and benefits of the use of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes, the raft amendment bill should point out how the medicinal use of cannabis oil can be legalized. Thus, the draft amendment bill has to state what laws are to be made for production and selling cannabis oil for medicinal purposes only. Thus, legalizing cannabis oil strictly for medicinal use is the motive of the act. Therefore, it is important to discuss, how the cannabis oil is to be sold and purchased. Thus, in the present case, the draft amendment bill should propose to form a body which will be responsible to keep a check on how the cannabis oil is sold and purchased and strictly make laws for only medicinal use of cannabis oil (Currie & De Waal 2013).

In case, the draft amendment bill is legalized by the New Zealand Parliament, it will create the law which will legalize the use of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes, thus, strict laws will be made by Parliament under the new Amendment Act for production, selling, and purchasing of the said cannabis oil. The amendment bill should propose that the cannabis oil should be made available only at registered pharmacies and should be sold only on prescription. This is an important part of the draft amendment bill as legalizing cannabis oil for medicinal purposes without enacting a strict law on where and who can buy it will defeat the purpose of the entire amendment. Thus, the amendment should highlight the only medicinal use of cannabis oil (Fulford et al., 2013).

Primary Object of the Amendment

The proposed amendment draft can suggest forming a statutory body to administer the law passed by the New Zealand Parliament to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis oil. The said body can regularly check whether the amendment laws are being followed.


The draft amendment letter should also give a list of amendments which are to be made in other Acts if cannabis oil is legalized in New Zealand. For example, the Medicine Regulation 1984 in New Zealand requires pharmacies in New Zealand to have licenses to sell a certain type of drugs, thus, an amendment needs to be enacted in the said Part 8 of the Medicine Regulation 1984 to include the sale of cannabis oil at licensed pharmacy and only on prescription (Glavovic et al., 2010).

Lastly, the draft amendment bill should incorporate an explanatory note which will help the ministers in the Parliament in New Zealand to have an overview of the entire draft amendment bill by reading the explanatory note attached to the draft amendment bill at the start (Gledhill et al., 2011).

The front page of the amendment bill will be as follows:-


Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Cannabis Oil Medicinal Use Act 2016

This Act is the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Cannabis Oil Medicinal Use Act 2016 and is proposed to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 in New Zealand (Vowles, 2014).

This Act is to come into force on the date it receives Royal Assent.

The primary purpose of the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Cannabis Oil Medicinal Use Act 2016 is to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis oil in New Zeal and to amend the sections of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to bring about the said changes.

Section 6 and 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is proposed to be amendment to alter the section relating to dealing and possession of drugs in New Zealand.

In section 3A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, cannabis is classified in group B depending on the serious consequences of consumption the drugs. However, the section is proposed to incorporate the use of cannabis in oil form for medicinal purposes along with the scheduled (Zealand, 2010).

Additionally, section 6 and 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 state that possessing and dealing of any controlled drug is an offence thus, the said section requires the use of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes to be added as an exception in the form of an amendment.

Section 29 B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 which discusses special provisions where offence relating to cannabis preparations alleged also required amendments to allow and permit the production of cannabis in oil form for medicinal purposes (Hall & Degenhardt 2009).

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel is regarded as the legal drafting office of New Zealand. The same is responsible for the following:
  • Drafting the Government Bills of New Zealand and also the instruments of legislation.
  • Making the publication of all the Acts, Bills and the instruments of legislations of New Zealand and such publication must be in the hard copy as well as in online.

The Parliamentary Counsel Office, hereinafter referred to as PCO, is considered as a separate office under the Legislation Act of 2012. The control of the PCO is under the hands of the Attorney General of New Zealand. In the absence of the attorney general, the Prime Minister controls the PCO.

Legalizing Medicinal Use of Cannabis Oil

The bills that affect the policy of the public but neither forms the part of the legislative program of the Government is entitled to be introduced by the members along with the ministers. But, the House possesses limited time to make the consideration of such bills. In order to keep the number of the Member bills within the capability of the House to make their consideration, the introduction of the ballot system was made. When eight member bills emerges before the House for the first time reading, there occurs a ballot. Every member has the ability to have no more than one bill in every ballot (Hall & Pacula 2013).


On every second Wednesday of the schedule of the House is set aside for the debate of the member bills and passing of those bills in case they possess the support of the House. But in the practical world, the truth is that the member bills do not often get passed. The Government of New Zealand may agree to make the support of a member bill and also make the drafting and advisory services that are available during the passage of such bill. The Member bills can either have an impact on the legislative priorities of the Government of New Zealand (Norberg et al., 2012).

The incorporation of the explanatory note helps to make the understanding of the policy objectives of any bill. The incorporation of the explanatory notes helps in improving the accessibility of the law by the fact of re-enacting the Interpretation Act of 1999 in the Legislation Act of 2012. It is done so that the rules regarding the legislation in New Zealand that are related with the enactment of statute by the parliament are in the same statute. The explanatory notes also enhance and improve the rules of interpretation that were incorporated in the Interpretation Act of 1999 for the help of the courts to reach to any particular decision. The third importance of the explanatory note is to encourage the production of the good quality legislations by making the availability of additional information about the legislation related with the scrutiny of that legislation (Hall & Solowij 2010).

Hence, it can be said that the explanatory note is required for bring out the additional information about any legislation and helps the judges to make the interpretation of the legislations. The explanatory note is must and compulsory for a bill as the explanatory note expressly provides the policies that the legislation seeks to achieve.

Any bill passes through a number of stages prior to becoming the Act of the Parliament. The first stage of passing a bill is introduction of a bill. Any public bill is available to the public after its introduction. The process of introduction is regarded as an administrative one. In the stage of introduction the bill is later announced in the House of Parliament. No bill has a formal existence until it is introduced. In the stage of introduction, a bill is introduced and becomes available to the public. Any bill must contain an explanatory note as that sets out the objectives and aims that the legislation seeks to achieve. Every bill in New Zealand passes through the above-stated procedure. Any bill that is introduced in the Parliament gets through the above process in order to get passed.

The Select Committee recommends the amendment in the bills. The Select Committee at the beginning makes the call of the public submission. Then the Committee makes the hearing of the evidences that are presented in the public submissions. Then the Committee makes a report that deals in details the recommendations of the amendments that are to be made in the bill. Then the bill is presented for second reading. In the second reading there held the debate regarding the recommendations that are made by the Select Committee. The bill can also be defeated in this stage. Then the bill emerges before the Committee of the Whole House. In this stage, the Deputy Speaker presides the committee. In this stage the bills gets divided into several smaller bills with certain new names and that depends on the principal Acts they named. The bills that gets divided includes the Amendment Bills (Miller, 2010).

In case the bill gets referred to the Select Committee, the Committee normally has six months in order to report to the House, unless there is any other date that is prescribed by the House. The dates of reporting may be subject to extension in case it is found that greater time is needed for the Committee in making the consideration of the bill (Potter et al., 2011).

The Select Committee makes the calling of the public submissions and the makes the hearing of the hearing of the evidences regarding those evidences. After making the hearing of the evidences, the Select Committee makes the recommendations regarding any amendments that are to be made in the bill. Such recommendation is to made to the House. The report of the Committee consists of the bill that is reprinted with the recommendation of the amendments that are to be made. It is accompanied a commentary of the Committee that consists of the narrative explanation of the recommendations and also includes the issues that are to be addressed (Room, 2010).

Benefits of Medicinal Use of Cannabis Oil

It is considered that once the Select Committee makes the presentation of the report, the bill becomes available for the second time reading at any time after the expiry of the third sitting day after such presentation (Swain et al., 2010).

Once a bill passes the first reading and is presented to the Select Committee, the Committee makes the provision for calling public submissions on the bill. The first thing that the Select Committee does is that it calls for the public submission. The Select Committee makes the hearing the evidences of the submissions of the public. The public submissions are made in the bill for taking the considerations of the public regarding the changes and alterations that are required in the bill. The public submission are invited in the recent years on regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill. The last date for the submission is the 22nd of July of 2016. The submissions are released in the public through the website of the Parliament (Samkin & Schneider 2010).

The Government has the program of making the law in order to act on its policies. As the part of such program, the Bills of the Government are made so that the Ministers are subject to introduction to the House. It is decided by the Government in what order the Government Bills will get considered in the House. The public submissions are also applicable in the case of the Government Bills (Schechner, 2013). Hence, it can be said public submissions are also adopted in the cases of the government bills. In the government bills special attention is given to the public submissions. It is because the primary objectives of the government is related with the public.

Reference List

Boyle, C. A. (2000). Solid waste management in New Zealand. Waste Management, 20(7), 517-526.

British Medical Association. (2014). Therapeutic uses of cannabis. CRC press.

Caulkins, J. P., Hawken, A., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. (2012). Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG. Oxford University Press.

Cho, C. M., Hirsch, R., & Johnstone, S. (2005). General and oral health implications of cannabis use. Australian Dental Journal, 50(2), 70-74.

Currie, I., & De Waal, J. (2013). The bill of rights handbook. Juta and Company Ltd.

Fulford, B., Morris, K., Sadler, J. Z., & Stanghellini, G. (2013). Nature and narrative: an introduction to the new philosophy of psychiatry.

Glavovic, B. C., Saunders, W. S. A., & Becker, J. S. (2010). Land-use planning for natural hazards in New Zealand: the setting, barriers,‘burning issues’ and priority actions. Natural Hazards, 54(3), 679-706.

Keith, K. J. (2013). On the constitution of New Zealand: An introduction to the foundations of the current form of government. Introduction to Cabinet Office Cabinet Office Manual (Cabinet Office, Wellington, 1991)(subsequently updated and republished for the 2001 and 2008 editions of the Cabinet Manual).

Gledhill, K., Ristau, J., Reyners, M., Fry, B., & Holden, C. (2011). The Darfield (Canterbury, New Zealand) Mw 7.1 earthquake of September 2010: A preliminary seismological report. Seismological Research Letters, 82(3), 378-386.

Gray, A., & Jenkins, B. (2013). Codes of accountability in the new public sector. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 6(3).

Gray, A., & Jenkins, B. (2014). Codes of accountability in the new public sector. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 6(3).

Hall, W., & Degenhardt, L. (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. The Lancet, 374(9698), 1383-1391.

Hall, W., & Pacula, R. L. (2013). Cannabis use and dependence: public health and public policy. Cambridge university press.

Hall, W., & Solowij, N. (2010). Adverse effects of cannabis. The Lancet,352(9140), 1611-1616.

Keith, K. J. (2013). On the constitution of New Zealand: An introduction to the foundations of the current form of government. Introduction to Cabinet Office Cabinet Office Manual (Cabinet Office, Wellington, 1991)(subsequently updated and republished for the 2001 and 2008 editions of the Cabinet Manual).

Mary Lynn Mathre, R. N. (Ed.). (2011). Cannabis in medical practice: A legal, historical and pharmacological overview of the therapeutic use of marijuana. McFarland.

Miller, R. (2010). New Zealand government and politics. Oxford University Press.

Norberg, M. M., Mackenzie, J., & Copeland, J. (2012). Quantifying cannabis use with the timeline followback approach: a psychometric evaluation. Drug and alcohol dependence, 121(3), 247-252.

Potter, G. R., Bouchard, M., & Decorte, T. (2011). The globalization of cannabis cultivation. World wide weed: Global trends in cannabis cultivation and its control, 1-20.

Room, R. (2010). Cannabis policy: moving beyond stalemate. Oxford University Press, USA.

Samkin, G., & Schneider, A. (2010). Accountability, narrative reporting and legitimation: The case of a New Zealand public benefit entity. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 23(2), 256-289.

Schechner, R. (2013). Performance studies: An introduction. Routledge.

Swain, A. H., Hoyle, S. R., & Long, A. W. (2010). The changing face of prehospital care in New Zealand: the role of extended care paramedics. NZ Med J, 123(1309), 11-14.

Vowles, J. (2014). The politics of electoral reform in New Zealand.International Political Science Review, 16(1), 95-115.

Zealand, S. N. (2010). Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.(2010). Health and Pacific peoples in New Zealand, 31.

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