Victorian Upper House MP and leader of REASON, Fiona Patten MLC is concerned patients are needlessly suffering while access to medicinal cannabis remains elusive.
As far back as October 2015, the government announced that it had accepted all recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, clearing the way for patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV and AIDS, epileptic conditions and severe chronic pain to receive medicinal cannabis treatment if prescribed by a doctor.
Two and a half years later there are currently no locally produced medicinal cannabis products available for genuine patients in need, while access to imported products has only recently been expanded to 60 children.
“I understand that it is difficult for the state and federal governments to work effectively together but they must. Thousands of Victorians are unable to access potentially lifesaving treatment or forced to break the law as both federal and state governments continue to pontificate, procrastinate and perpetuate the pain and suffering for patients in need,” said Fiona Patten MLC.
In a joint media release last month, Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford and Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy unveiled Australia’s first ever Medical Cannabis Industry Development Strategy, promising as many as 500 new jobs and claims Victoria will supply half of Australia’s medicinal cannabis by 2028.
“The Victorian Government hopes to be a global leader in medicinal cannabis exports, yet they cannot supply Victorians with the same product they wish to export. Internationally there are dozens of jurisdictions with a thriving, regulated medicinal cannabis sector. They manage to dispense medical grade cannabis product to prescribed patients with ease, yet in Australia, thousands of people are forced to illegally acquire their medicine from back-yard manufacturers due to our arduous, convoluted bureaucracy,” said Ms Patten.
This Thursday in Sydney, Mrs Lucy Haslam, Director of United in Compassion (UIC) will convene a meeting of Australia’s leading medicinal cannabis advocates: an extraordinary collection of experts in science, medicine, research, health and law. It is expected the meeting will issue a joint statement calling upon governments at all levels to improve access to medicinal cannabis while condemning the current inaction nationally.
“I congratulate Lucy, United in Compassion and all attending the meeting this week for their determination to see an end to this madness. Let us all hope that those who have the authority to streamline access to medicinal cannabis, also have enough empathay to do so quickly,” concluded Ms Patten.
– Fiona Patten, 07.02.2018