Tasmanian Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings has condemned the state’s government for what she says is inaction and broken promises relating to medicinal cannabis.
In late 2015, the state governments of New South Wales and Tasmania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding collaboration on a raft of medical cannabis actions; including Tasmanian patients being able to participate in clinical trials says Ms. Giddings.
“The reality is no Tasmanians are part of the trial. The MOU isn’t worth the paper it’s written on,” she says.
“Here we are, 3 years into the Hodgman Liberal Government, and all Tasmanians have been given on medicinal cannabis are hollow promises.”
In April last year, the Government announced all specialist medical practitioners will be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis and access to medical cannabis products grown under Commonwealth licenses would be made available.
However, that is yet to eventuate – as the licenses are yet to be issued.
Ms. Giddings states Tasmania’s Premier and Health Minister Michael Ferguson need to stop blaming others for lack of progress on the issue.
“There are Tasmanian families with seriously sick kids who need the hope that medicinal cannabis can offer them,” Ms. Giddings says in a Tasmanian Labor press release.
“It’s heartbreaking for those patients out there who want to do the right thing by the law and access it legally and safely.”
The Liberal Tasmanian Government has hit back at Ms. Giddings’ accusations.
“The Controlled Access Scheme will be open this year, as we promised,” said Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health.
“There are Tasmanians who have ruled out participating in the trials, because of the chance of receiving a placebo. Our scheme will allow them to be prescribed medicinal cannabis products by a specialist doctor under certain conditions, including peer review. It is important to note Labor was in Government for 16 years during which time Ms Giddings was both Health Minister and Premier and did absolutely nothing.”
Last year, Tasmania Labor committed to decriminalising the possession and medicinal use of cannabis, and to allow licensed cultivation, processing and dispensing if elected.