Rebecca Reider, a New Zealander from Golden Bay, made history by successfully passing her home country’s customs inspection while carrying an ounce of raw cannabis she picked up in Hawaii. This is all thanks to New Zealand’s law which allows anyone entering the country to carry with them a month’s worth of medicinal cannabis or cannabis-related product, provided it was legally prescribed by an overseas medical practitioner.
Reider, who is an ardent advocate for cannabis use in New Zealand, expressed pride for making the historic feat to enter the country with raw cannabis. “It’s long overdue,” she explains. “It’s one small step on the road to a compassionate medical system here. I’m going to keep fighting for everyone else to have access because I realise not everyone can hop on a plane overseas.”
This marks a major turn of luck from back in March 2016 when she faced criminal charges for importing a cannabis product as well as five counts of possession. The judge who oversaw her case determined that the consequences of conviction were inproportional to the gravity of the offense and quickly cleared her of all charges without conviction. At the time, Reider considered that ordeal a significant victory for the right to medicinal cannabis. “New Zealand is still in the dark ages,” she said then. “I’m grateful to the judge for his compassion, but this legal process has been long, stressful and expensive for me.”
As a result of this success, Reider plans to help develop a how-to guide for other New Zealander patients who plan to go overseas to get prescription cannabis. She explains, “we’ve got to keep fighting for a right to access it. Our ultimate goal is to make it legal and accessible right here on New Zealand soil for everyone who can benefit from it.”