The Australian Federal Government has been accused of ignoring Parliament and the law with regard to access to medical cannabis.
In June, the Senate voted to reverse changes that saw unregistered cannabis products excluded from Category A of Australia’s Special Access Scheme. Category A enables faster access to medicines than under Category B, which can take weeks or even months.
The Federal Government warned after the vote that it wouldn’t increase access – and it seems they were right.
The ABC reports while the Office of Drug Control in the Department of Health recognises the Senate vote allows access to cannabis products under Special Access Scheme Category A, it has warned importers that supplying a medicinal cannabis product to a patient under SAS-A is a breach of their permit and licence conditions.
“The regulator is threatening suppliers and denying the rights of patients,” said Greens leader, Dr. Richard Di Natale, who is also the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform.
“The Greens will not back down from our work to ensure patients can access the medicine they need.”
The Greens have called on Australians to support their vision of establishing an independent regulator responsible for licensing the growing, manufacturing and distribution of medicinal cannabis. The party’s “Make It Medicine” petition can be found here.
Dr. Di Natale has also vowed to soon introduce legislation to Parliament to ensure anyone with a terminal illness needing access to medicinal cannabis can source it either through an importer or registered grower within Australia.
The full Lateline transcript and video concerning the revelation can be viewed here.
The story broke just days after the plight of Australian patients requiring cannabis medicines hit the headlines again, with access and cost the major issues reported.
With all the talk of progress on medical cannabis in the country, you’d be forgiven for believing that far more people in Australia have legal access than there actually are. In May this year, we mentioned just 130 patients in Australia had been granted access since 1992.