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.
This issue is not about politics, it’s about getting medicine to people who need it. This is our nation's chance to relieve the pain and suffering of many Australians if we can just come together and show parliament at its best.
The Greens believe that a comprehensive approach to this issue is needed, which ensures the establishment of an independent regulator would be responsible for licensing the growing, manufacturing and distribution of medicinal cannabis. It will use clinical evidence to determine the limited set of conditions for which medicinal cannabis can be prescribed. There is already overwhelming evidence for the efficacy of medicinal cannabis for conditions such as intractable nausea and muscle spasms.
Senator Di Natale introduced the The Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill in 2014, which can be viewed here, which has support of MPs from across the Parliament but has not been voted on at this stage.
In February 2016, the government introduced a bill to establish a national licensing scheme for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. We cautiously welcome this move, but must remember that it is only the first piece of the puzzle. This bill does nothing to change the fact that cannabis is scheduled as an illegal drug that cannot be prescribed by a doctor. The Federal Government needs to actively engage with the TGA, state governments, and with doctors and pharmacists to make sure 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.