Australian Greens Leader, Dr Richard Di Natale today welcomed the government’s announcement on medicinal cannabis but warned that it doesn’t deal with the biggest barriers that will prevent patients from accessing it.
“I welcome that both the Government and Opposition have finally acknowledged that medicinal cannabis reform is needed, however today’s announcement only delivers a small part of changes required,” said Senator Di Natale.
“The test for any reform is whether it will get this medicine in the hands of everyone who needs it, and I’m afraid the government’s proposed reform falls well short of that. The government’s announcement today removes barriers to growing medical cannabis in Australia but does nothing to remove the bureaucratic barriers that will prevent it from being approved so it can be prescribed like any other medicine. “While a few hundred people may have access as part of initial trials or compassionate access schemes, many more people will miss out.
There are tens of thousands of patients in Victoria alone who need access to this medicine urgently so any reform that doesn’t end up with cannabis being accessible like any other medicine will be thoroughly inadequate.
“The Greens have been working with experts, patients and politicians from all sides of politics for more than a year to put forward a comprehensive cross-party bill that would ensure access for every patient who needs it.
“Given the amount of work that has been undertaken over the past 12 months it is disappointing that the Coalition is now proposing an inadequate response that ignores recommendations from the Senate Inquiry. “I hope this is not another story of high community expectations let down by a lack of leadership and courage by both the Coalition and Labor.”
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