Labor welcomes the Government’s decision to adopt Labor’s policy to have a single national scheme to regulate the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.
But the Government must go much further and provide real leadership by creating a truly national scheme for medicinal cannabis that doesn’t leave people in some states and territories unable to legally and safely access the product.
Under the Minister for Health’s plan, a person’s postcode will still determine whether or not they will be at risk of prosecution for possession and use of medicinal cannabis.
As things stand, it is still up to the states and territories to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and there is no guarantee they will adopt uniform national laws.
This is not acceptable and the government must heed Labor’s calls to create nationally consistent legislation that will enable people with serious and life threatening diseases to access and use medicinal cannabis.
Until this occurs we won’t have equity of access and the question of whether a person can access pain relief for debilitating conditions will be dictated by geography.
If the government had acted sooner they could have legislated for medicinal cannabis before the end of the year. But with Parliament rising for the summer break tomorrow this is no longer a possibility.
There must be no more delays.
People who could benefit from medicinal cannabis deserve a genuine commitment in creating a comprehensive national scheme that covers all bases rather than just the cultivation stage of the process.