Patient access to to the medical use of cannabis once again sparked protests as police raided two Queensland members of the Medical Cannabis Users Association of Australia (MCUA) on Wednesday.
Set against a backdrop of legalisation of cannabis for both medical and recreational use around the world the harassment of people using it for medical relief of chronic symptoms appears to be a waste of taxpayers money.
Former nurse Maggie O’Rance, who is a 66 year old disability pensioner, ‘suffers debilitating chronic pain, mobility problems and depression, escaped penalty and conviction when she was found guilty of cannabis charges in April this year after pleading not guilty on the grounds of medical necessity with compulsion,’ said MCUA president Deb Lynch.
According to Ms Lynch, Ms O’Rance has been trying to get off opioids attempted to get a prescription for cannabis for several months prior to her first arrest in 2018. Her GP refused to prescribe, leaving her with no choice but the black market and home grow for supply.
Ms Lynch said that since her last clash with the law, she has tried to get a prescription from her pain clinic but was told again one month ago that Queensland Health policy would not allow doctors to prescribe. Again she was left with no choice but to break the law to get relief.
‘MCUA members were outraged by the news about the raid on Maggie’s home,’ said Ms Lynch. If that wasn’t bad enough, I received a text message last evening from Dr Deb Waldron, who is a well known and respected cannabis advocate and educator, saying she was in the middle of a police raid at her home.
Waste of taxpayers dollars
‘These kinds of police actions cost the tax payers thousands of dollars and for what benefit? They are not in the public interest and they need to stop making criminals out of patients,’ said an angry Ms Lynch.
Cannabis was made legal for medical use in 2016 and thousands are now being prescribed expensive imported products. Almost half of those are unable to get the scripts filled because they can’t afford the products, which are not covered by the PBS.
Ms Lynch said patients have been complaining to their MPs for months that the system in place is broken and is not working for them and an estimated 100,000 are pushed to the black market for products.
Earlier this month a federal senate inquiry was announced. It will examine current barriers to patient access. This has been welcomed by patients, but in the meantime activists believe there should be a moratorium on arrests until the fiasco that the medical cannabis program has become, can be sorted.