Victorian Member for Northern Metropolitan and Leader of the Australian Sex Party, Fiona Patten MLC, has welcomed a proposal from Health Minister Susan Ley that will see the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes federally, clearing the way for Victoria to lead the nation in this new industry. It comes on the back of an announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews to move forward with a medicinal cannabis scheme in Victoria.
“This is fantastic news for people who have seen incredible benefit from using medicinal cannabis,” said Ms Patten. “It’s been a long time coming but it also means a lot less hurdles are in the way of Victoria speeding up its program and becoming a nationwide leader in this new industry. This should be welcomed by industry and farmers alike.
“Victoria is in the box seat to lead the country in providing a legal and sustainable supply of medicinal cannabis,” she said. “The federal government announcement may well open the path for Victorian farmers to export and meet the growing international market for medicinal cannabis supply.”
Ms Patten has been vocal in parliament in recent months advocating for an amnesty for those already using the products whilst legislation is being considered.
“People who are already using cannabis products, particularly parents of children, should not be treated as criminals while both the Victorian and federal governments prepare laws to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes,” Ms Patten said. “I noted the same amnesty calls from campaigner Lucy Haslem of United in Compassion and will again be urging the government to make some sort of a statement so that people receiving benefit from the drug and those supplying it can have peace of mind.”
Ms Patten said she urged all states and territories to legislate so that patients can access the drug legally.
“Some states might not want to go down the path of cultivation,” said Ms Patten. “But taking into account the announcement from the federal government, states should be reviewing their various criminal and health acts to allow for patients to access the drug. It’s patient access where we need to do more legislative ground work.
“The argument over whether we should allow supply of medicinal cannabis is now over. Let’s just get it into the hands of the people who need it as quick as possible.”