Grey Power's national president has spoken in support of a Northland chapter promoting the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, despite it being one of the "more unusual" causes taken up by a local group.
However, Grey Power federation president Tom O'Connor stressed the national organisation did not yet have an official stance on medicinal cannabis and would take a science-based approach if the issue was to come before the board. But, he said, local chapters were entitled to take on their own causes.
"We don't intrude on their autonomy," he said.
Otamatea Grey Power members this week began lobbying politicians, with president Beverley Aldridge saying she had grown tired of seeing friends and family members suffer serious illness. She believed medicinal cannabis could benefit them. "We have a God-given right to use the plants that are available," Mrs Aldridge, 74, said.
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"Meanwhile, we're exposed to fast food and alcohol outlets, with no nutrition and known to be harmful to our health."
Despite never having taken the drug herself, Mrs Aldridge said her interest in natural medicine spanned some 50 years.
"It's about having the choice," Otamatea member Kathleen Pattinson said. "We want to be able to have the choice of dying pain-free."
The Otamatea chapter, which had about 43 members, had unanimously agreed to write to members of Parliament lobbying for cannabis to be legalised.
They were also opposing a piece of Government legislation that would restrict the sale of certain natural health supplements.
Mr O'Connor said medicinal cannabis would be "one of the most unusual" causes taken up by a Grey Power chapter. "But just because its unusual it doesn't mean we don't approach these things with an objective mind."
"A similar situation would be euthanasia. We've got to get past anecdotal stuff and have a look at the facts. We're well aware of the pros and cons of medicinal cannabis, because of our age group - and regardless of the social commentary."