Medical cannabis users will have to wait until 2019 before they can get their hands on the drug, and some are calling for the federal government to make the transition as soon as possible.
Key points:Doctors and doctors of Australia, the UK and New Zealand have signed a letter calling for an end to the criminalisation of cannabisDr Peter O’Leary, chief executive of the medical cannabis advocacy group, called for the government to act urgentlyTo sign the letter, more than 200 Australian and New Zealander doctors, medical cannabis advocates and their allies called on the government, the states and territories to immediately repeal the criminalising of medical cannabis.
Dr O’Brien said a shift in policy was necessary, in order to bring cannabis use in line with the disease and disability of cannabis-dependent patients.
“Medical cannabis is a safe, effective treatment option that offers patients relief from chronic pain and nausea and is one of the most effective and cost-effective therapies available,” Dr O’Connor said.
“The public health consequences of the criminalization of cannabis use are devastating and can affect a person’s quality of life, family, social, financial and other relationships.”
In Australia, we know that for many of our most vulnerable patients, cannabis can offer hope, recovery and healing, and can help to alleviate their symptoms.
“This is why the Government must act now to make medical cannabis legal and accessible to all Australians, including the many cannabis-using patients in Australia.”
Dr OConnor said it was vital that cannabis was used as an effective treatment for a range of conditions, not criminalised.
“For many people who are suffering from debilitating and debilitating medical conditions, cannabis is one option they are not able to access because of criminalisation,” he said.
Dr Tom Daley, director of the Centre for Medical Cannabis Research at RMIT University, said it would be naive to assume that medicinal cannabis users would not benefit from the move towards decriminalisation.
“There is overwhelming evidence to show that medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate chronic pain, nausea and vomiting,” he told ABC Radio.
“That is why we need to see the change, to see patients in our communities, in our workplaces, who are now able to enjoy a safe and effective treatment.”
Dr Daley said the move was “absolutely necessary” to bring the drug into line with other treatments and treatments for cancer, epilepsy, anxiety and other disorders.
“We don’t have a medical cannabis policy that is focused on people who need it and don’t use it, and it’s certainly not geared towards people who don’t need it,” he added.
“It’s geared towards those who need cannabis and it has an amazing safety profile.”
Topics:health,government-and-politics,health,drug-use,medical-research,cannabis,law-crime-and‑justice,cbd,law—state-issues,state-parliament,government,national-parks,canberra-2600,act,york-2610,sydney-2000,nsw,perth-6000,tas,australiaContact Simon HaggardMore stories from New South Wales