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Medical cannabis decision 'the right one', minister says after death of Alex Renton

Thursday 2nd July 2015

Alex Renton died peacefully, listening to music, his family says.

Alex Renton's family have paid tribute to the spirit of the Nelson teenager after he died last night.

The 19-year-old received medicinal marijuana while in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital. He was suffering from status epilepticus - an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure.

His family posted on a Facebook page that he’d died peacefully.

"This evening our beautiful warrior Alex passed peacefully away.

"He was surrounded by his family, listening to his own music with a tummy of mum's food.

"We thank you all from our hearts as you kept us strong during this journey. His spirit is amongst us all as he taught us so very much. We love you dear Alex (aka Ratty) xxxxxxx ."


Alex was given permission to receive Elixinol, a medicinal cannabis-based product, and last month opened his eyes but remained in a critical condition.

The product was supplied by a Colorado company after the Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne approved it as a one-off treatment.

Speaking last night Dunne said the decision was the right one.

"At the end of the day my original decision was based on the view that this was an effort worth making, and while he's died, I believe it was the right one."

Dunne said he remains open to approving further cases.

A version of this story was first published on

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