Dying Australians will have easier access to much-needed pain relief to ease their suffering after the Senate voted to give people with a terminal illness better access to medicinal cannabis.
This is a win for dying Australians, who have been facing extensive barriers to access medicinal cannabis under the Turnbull Government.
As a result of today’s vote, a doctor is able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to people with a terminal illness if it is clinically appropriate under Category A of the Special Access Scheme – as they can with other restricted drugs. Eligibility to Category A is tightly restricted to:
“Persons who are seriously ill with a condition from which death is reasonably likely to occur within a matter of months, or from which premature death is reasonably likely to occur in the absence of early treatment”.
Today’s vote will result in fewer barriers and more efficient access to medicinal cannabis, for the people who need it most.
We now hope the Government gets on with the job of implementing a national scheme and stop scaremongering and stigmatising the people who are trying to access medicinal cannabis.
The Government needs to do much more to ensure a consistent supply of regulated and affordable product, and to drive consistency across states on the legal treatment of people currently accessing medicinal cannabis.
Labor has been calling on the Government to do more to improve access to regulated medicinal cannabis, with the Government being slow to act and leaving families in limbo for too long. Bill Shorten has written to Malcolm Turnbull three times urging action and offering support, but patients have seen no change.
With too many cruel empty promises from the Government, it was up to the Parliament to do the right thing and deliver relief for the dying people who need it.
TUESDAY, 13 JUNE 2017