Australia’s “GreenLight” Medical Cannabis Campaign

GreenLight Medicinal Marijuana
Image: BigStock/GreenLight

A campaign to put pressure on the Australian Government to “greenlight” medicinal cannabis and alleviate the suffering of thousands of Australians kicked off on the weekend.

While legislation was passed in February 2016 to enable the “safe, legal and reliable” supply of medicinal cannabis products in Australia; after a year little has eventuated in terms of putting medicines into the hands of those that need them. Patients, their families and carers are growing frustrated with the situation.

The GreenLight campaign calls on the Government to take immediate action in giving patients critical access to a legal medicinal solution that improves their lives.

It asks for:

  • Approval of a ‘transitional compassionate access program’ that works in real terms.
  • Creation of a federal framework
  • An end to scaremongering and misinformation
  • Respect for patients’ biological needs
  • An end to criminalising patients and patient carers
  • A commitment to a complete solution
  • An end to harmful restrictions
  • An end to unnecessary delays

A petition on the campaign site enables Australians to to let their local MP know they want change – and soon.

The site also features stories of Australians who have benefited from medicinal marijuana and provides resources on tackling misconceptions.

Among those behind the campaign is Lucy Haslam and Barry Lambert.

Lucy Haslam is one of Australia’s best-known medical cannabis campaigners. Ms. Haslam, a former nurse, commenced her crusade after her son Dan was diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 20. Her efforts saw her nominated as a finalist for the 2016 NSW Australian of the Year Awards.

Barry Lambert is one of the world’s most generous philanthropists in relation to medical cannabis. In January this year, Mr Lambert and his wife Joy bestowed $33.7 million to the University of Sydney to fund the Lambert Initiative; a project exploring the potential of cannabinoids in treating a range of diseases.

The Lamberts also recently donated  USD $3 million to Thomas Jefferson University in the USA to support its Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research.

As with Ms. Haslam,  Mr Lambert’s association with cannabis began close to home – his five-year-old grand-daughter, Katelyn, has a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Katelyn has improved after treatment with cannabis medicines.

Mr Lambert has called the lack of action in Australia a “crime against humanity“.