Home detention no bar to fight for drug

KELVIN TEIXEIRA
Last updated 10:12 08/11/2012
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Home detention: Medicinal cannabis advocate Billy McKee is now a week into his 12-months home detention.

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Horowhenua Mail

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Medicinal cannabis proponent Billy McKee will continue advocating for a law change - albeit from home.

Last week the 58-year-old Levin man was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court to 12 months' home detention on four charges of selling cannabis and one charge of cultivating the drug.

He does not dispute the charges, however he told the Horowhenua Mail he planned to appeal the sentence with submissions challenging the current law.

Mr McKee, who lost his right lower leg in a hit-and-run accident aged 20, said his first week of home detention had been "OK".

"I'm used to being stuck around the house anyway. I don't go out much," he said.

Nevertheless, he said he felt awful not being able to supply people with cannabis as a natural and relatively cheap "medicine".

"There are a lot of people with a genuine need because they are in pain or dying.

"It's a desperate situation these people are in and their suffering gives me the determination to keep battling."

Mr McKee said this was tough when opponents included pharmaceutical companies and a "corrupted government".

The former mechanical engineer who is married with teenage and adult children now administers the GreenCross website promoting the use of cannabis to treat medical ailments, post- traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and pain.

He wants to see a legalised and regulated cannabis industry, with education, licensing, medical checks and support.

Mr McKee said it was ironic that alcohol caused such great social and criminal issues, such as domestic and street violence and drunk-driving, yet cannabis was so frowned upon.

"You don't see the accident and emergency clinics full of people who have been taking cannabis."

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- Horowhenua Mail

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