There is strong community and political support to reform our approach to medicinal cannabis and make this medication available to those who need it.
As Co-convenor of the Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform, Dr Richard Di Natale continues to work with experts, patients and politicians from all sides of politics to deliver policy reform that ensure access to medicinal cannabis for every patient who needs it.
There is already overwhelming evidence for the efficacy of medicinal cannabis for conditions such as intractable nausea and muscle spasms. This issue is not about politics, it’s about getting medicine to people who need it, relieving their pain and suffering.
Disallowing unfair regulation
The Greens’ motion to disallow regulations to ensure terminally ill Australian patients can access medicinal cannabis has been defeated in the Senate after the Nick Xenophon Team and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation voted with the Liberals.
This move has slammed the door on terminally ill patients fighting for faster access to the medical cannabis prescribed by their doctor. Patients are currently waiting weeks and sometimes months for access to these treatments. This motion could have reduced that to a day or possibly hours.
We will not be giving up this fight. The Greens will continue to pursue meaningful advances until we have a system where Australian patients have a reliable, pain-free pathway for accessing the treatments they need.
In February 2016, the parliament passed legislation to establish a national licensing scheme for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, and in September it was announced that the TGA would recategorise medicinal cannabis for pharmaceutical use.
The Greens believe medicinal cannabis needs to be available to every patient who needs it and we’ve seen the first pieces of that puzzle pass into law.
There needs to be ongoing engagement and work to ensure that we overcome the many barriers that still stand between patients and the medicine they need. The final test for any reform is whether it will get this medicine in the hands of everyone who needs it.
Dan Haslam was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. He spent three years enduring treatment that made him constantly nauseous, lose weight and suffer. Cannabis eased Dan's suffering before he died last year. Cannabis gave Dan control over the brutal side effects of chemotherapy, and a renewed strength to keep fighting.
Every day across Australia, hundreds of people like Dan's mum Lucy Haslam are forced to choose between breaking the law or using the best medicine for their loved one. I
The work of Dan, Lucy and their family and supports has been an integral part of the campaign to ensure this medicine is available to those who need it.