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 have successfully ensured that terminally ill Australian patients can access medicinal cannabis – despite attempts by the government, One Nation and Nick Xenophon Team to block this important treatment.
This means terminally ill patients will have faster access to the medical cannabis they are prescribed by their doctor to help manage their pain. Patients who are currently waiting weeks and sometimes months for access to these treatments will have their wait time cut to less than a day – just like any other pain medication.
This is as important step – but it is just one of many we need to take to ensure that medicinal cannabis is available to all those who need it. The Greens will continue to campaign for this issue until the Government puts in place a program that gives Australian patients a reliable, pain-free pathway to 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.