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The story of New Zealand's "Green Fairy" Rose Renton

November 11, 2019

The story of New Zealand's

People have been treating their ailments with Cannabis for centuries.

In fact, Kiwi doctors were still prescribing cannabis for migraine and hypertensive headaches, up until 1955!

But since then, New Zealanders have been punished, fined and imprisoned for having so much as an ounce of the plant in their possession.

So when Rose Renton's 18-year-old son, Alex, started having mysterious seizures, she had to disobey New Zealand's laws in order to help.

Where it all began with the Green Fairy

Alex Renton became the first Kiwi to legally access medicinal cannabis.

The medical teams at Wellington Hospital tried over 43 prescription medications on Alex Renton and none of them worked.

While Alex was still well, he had pointed out the changing attitudes and knowledge around cannabis to his mother and had said, "If I ever get sick, mum, I choose cannabis as my medicine".

So when Rose found herself at her son's beside, with the confronting reality that the hospital medications weren't helping, she started campaigning for the right to treat her son with medicinal cannabis.

But while all the paperwork, debates and bureaucracy was slowly going on in the beehive, Rose was legally stuck, just watching her son struggle.

So, she did something extremely brave.

She gave her son illegal medicine

Elixinol Hemp Oil

She got hold of some Elixinol - a CBD medicinal cannabis product from America, and administered it herself.

"When no-one was around, I'd put it down the back of his mouth with a syringe. A mother would do anything." 

A week later, her request would be approved.  

At the time, then Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne stressed this wasn't a precedent and shouldn't be seen as a "significant change in policy".

Unfortunately, Alex Renton passed away in July 2015.

New Zealand's Petition to legalise medicinal cannabis


It shouldn't have been so difficult for Rose to try an alternative medicine on her son, especially one which has been used for centuries to help treat a wide array of illnesses and health issues.

And so Rose started a petition to legalise medicinal cannabis products, to make it easier for people all over the country.

Over 17,000 New Zealanders signed the petition.

Because of her work, the country is currently waiting on their opportunity to share their voice in a referendum on the subject in 2020.

But she didn't stop there.

Rose illegally supplied medical cannabis products to Kiwis in need

Medicinal cannabis New ZealandPhoto: NZ Herald

Rose started supplying oils and balms to over 1000 Kiwis who were relying on her products for relief from pain and other ailments. 

She, among others like her, were dubbed "Green Fairies".

Scarlet, who suffers from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, was using Rose's oil instead of her prescribed medicine which was costing her $700 for a three-week supply.

Rose's oil gave Scarlet the same relief from her symptoms, but was far cheaper.

It is also illegal.

Unfortunately, New Zealand police don't care whether it's medical or recreational - it's still illegal.

Charges of cultivating, processing, possession and supply of cannabis

Medicinal Hemp CBD Oil New Zealand

Police found 58 low THC cannabis plants on Rose's property, and charged her with possession, cultivation and supply of Cannabis in 2017.

But Judge David Ruth said Rose's offending was "altruistic" in nature and was motivated by wanting to help others.

He accepted that the vast proportion of the plants cultivated were very low in the active ingredient THC.

Read more: The difference between Hemp and marijuana (they're both called Cannabis)

Rose was discharged without conviction in February 2019.

Rose steps down as New Zealand's Green Fairy

NEw Zealand drug law reform referendum 2020

After everything Rose has been through, it's no wonder she wants to step away from it all and focus on her family.

"These are my final weeks of being a National Green Fairy. Carrying the burden of those who suffer has become too heavy ... the weight grows daily," Rose posted on Facebook.

Her bravery in supplying medicinal cannabinoid products on the wrong side of the law has not only helped Kiwis in need, but has also paved the way for medicinal cannabis reform.

Tarryn, Lisa and the team at NZ Hempress want to thank you for all your work and sacrifice.

We believe that mothers should be able to help their families with nature's own medicine, without being treated as a criminal.

We want to thank Rose and Alex for helping New Zealander's gain access to medicinal cannabis.

We’re certain your work will not be in vain as we eagerly await the outcome of next years referendum.

Make sure you vote in 2020!