During the recent election campaign, Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale joined his Greens NSW counterpart MP John Kaye in Sydney with Greens candidate for Newtown Jenny Leong to outline their approach to medicinal cannabis reform.
They say that to deny effective medication to patients who need it and would benefit from it simply because of stigma is cruel.
The Greens already have bills before the NSW and Commonwealth parliaments that would make this medicine available and provide relief from pain and suffering.
At the federal level, Dr Di Natale, a former GP and public health specialist, has led a cross-party working group to draft legislation that creates an independent regulator responsible for licensing the growing, manufacturing and distribution of medicinal cannabis.
This model would allow access to medicine that provides relief from severe pain and suffering, including patients suffering from intractable nausea and muscle spasms.
The bill is currently the subject of a Senate inquiry with submissions closing today and public hearings to follow next month.
The overwhelming majority of the community wants to see action on this issue and the Greens are leading the way at a state and federal level.
The time for meaningful reform is now
Dr Kaye said Senator Di Natale’s federal legislation clears a pathway around the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
If passed his bill would allow NSW to escape any risk of constitutional challenge to medicinal cannabis supply by state entities.
In NSW the Greens are determined to provide legal certainty to patients and their carers by proposing the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis use.
The premier Mike Baird might think that his clinical trials are the end of the story, but for the Greens this is just the beginning.
Of course we should continue to trial the efficacy of medicinal cannabis for conditions where there is emerging anecdotal evidence but a trial shouldn’t be allowed to delay access for conditions where there is already sufficient evidence.
There is already overwhelming international evidence that medicinal cannabis can provide relief from conditions like nausea, pain and muscle spasms.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have been needlessly denied access to this kind of medical relief for far too long.
The Greens don’t want to wait another five years for legislative reform.
Medicinal cannabis reform is a priority for the Greens in NSW and federally.
We will be pushing our bill to a vote when the Legislative Council sits again following the election.
Jenny Leong, Greens candidate for Newtown, said she strongly supporta the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and that the Greens in the NSW parliament have led the way in legislative reform in this area.
The Greens member for Balmain Jamie Parker joined John Kaye to launch the Greens campaign to legalise medicinal cannabis alongside doctors and experts at Parliament House in 2014.
The Greens’ bill currently before the NSW parliament goes much further than the Liberals and Nationals or the Labor Party have been prepared to do.
We have a plan that deals with supply as well as providing patients with exemption from prosecution.
Labor leader Luke Foley says he supports legislative reform to provide for the use of medicinal cannabis but has not stated clearly what model his party would vote for.
Ms Leong said she would commit to introducing the same legislation into the lower house that Dr Kaye has introduced in the upper house and that ‘all parties should support this compassionate and sensible response to an important issue’.
John Kaye, Richard Di Natale and Jenny Leong for the Greens