It's leap day and I have a proposal - the Beehive should back off and treat terminally ill people, most of whom are adults, with the dignity they deserve.

If they want medicinal cannabis to relieve their pain, or in fact just to make the whole process easier to handle, then they should be able to get it.

As it is they have to go through a process that former trade union boss Helen Kelly says is both frustrating and ridiculous. This former lawyer has become so frustrated at the inquisition's she undergone in an attempt to get it that she's given up and has turned to the black market to find her fix.

In other words she's now getting the stuff she wants illegally.


It's small consolation to her that the minister who has the power to sign off the legal stuff, prissy Peter Dunne has now asked his bureaucrats to review the guidelines surrounding the forms desperately ill people have to fill out to put them temporarily out of their misery.

Whatever you think of Helen Kelly's politics, she deserves to be admired. Even though she's given up the battle to get the drug for herself, this terminally ill woman's still fighting it on behalf of others.

A suggestion that she should be putting her feet up and finally leave the fight to others, is greeted with her typical, selfless iron will. She's alright, she says, even if she is slowing down a bit, she's still interested in things like this.

Of course she is, it's fighting a battle on behalf of others that she's done for most of her life that drives her, just as it drove her late Liverpudlian father Pat Kelly before her, a man David Lange once described as Gaddafi without the ethnic charm.

His daughter is just as dogged. If there's a justifiable fight to fight then she'll go into battle but getting medicinal cannabis is a no brainer, just as some would say the stuff Helen Kelly is now being forced to buy on the back street is.

You only have to skip the light fantastic for a few days in the world capital of cannabis Amsterdam and compare that to say, Wellington's Courtney Place on a Friday or a Saturday night, to appreciate that a smile is better than bile.

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