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Greens’ Medicinal Cannabis Bill removes barriers still blocking dying patient’s access

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 12 Sep 2017

“The government is defying the will of the senate by blocking terminally ill patients from accessing the medicinal cannabis prescribed by a doctor”, Leader of the Australian Greens, Dr Di Natale said today.

“Ignorance and conservative ideology are getting in the way of patient care - it has to stop. Today I am introducing a Private Senators Bill – Medicinal Cannabis Legislation Amendment (Securing Patient Access) Bill 2017 – to the Senate that will secure terminally ill patient access to medicinal cannabis.

“Our disallowance motion that was supported by the Senate on the 13 June was very, very clear. If somebody has a terminal illness, they should be able to get access to imported medicinal cannabis under Category A of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme (SAS).

“This made it illegal to prevent medicinal cannabis importation via category A of the SAS. Yet, just three days later the government wrote to importers, telling them that despite the law, they would be blocked from importing medicinal cannabis under category A.

“It is simple cruelty from this government. These patients are dying and their doctors believe medicinal cannabis may alleviate their suffering. The Greens will keep fighting to ensure the government can’t continue to draw out the suffering of terminally ill patients.

“My Bill will ensure that the government cannot block importation under Category A as well as making sure that Australian made medicinal cannabis, along with imported medicinal cannabis, is accessible via Category A of the SAS.

“This ensures that emerging Australian medicinal cannabis suppliers are not disadvantaged; it also ensures that when Australian medicinal cannabis treatments become available, terminally patients will be able to access them quickly.

“Why should someone who is dying have to wait for weeks or months on end for treatment that works, that has been prescribed by their doctor?

“Medicinal Cannabis is safer than many prescribed drugs such as opioids, which can be diverted and cause fatal overdose, yet Australian patients needlessly suffer while this government’s blind ideology can’t see past the word; Cannabis.

“I look forward to the support of Labor and the cross bench to get this bill through the Senate.”

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