Queensland Medical Cannabis Law Reform April 2016 – More of the Same – That is Not Good News
Updated October 2016 –
As predicted in April 2016, one of the most serious issues in the new bill, “definitions”, have gone ignored by all the other submissions I have seen. Unlike, NSW, ACT, Tasmania, Victoria and the Federal Bills, QLD includes synthetics (not from a plant) as Cannabis. A dark day for Cannabis law reform in Australia and know one even understands it yet.
From April 2016 and unedited
From the beginning the new bill is greatly flawed. First up is the discussion paper – http://www.bit.ly/QLD-disc the timeline for public consumption and feedback is quite short. Despite the positive media spins and discussions, focus was raised on pharmaceutical products, such as nabixamols (also known as Sativex), Drobabinol and Nabilone. All these products are either new or have failed various trials so far as they are not a natural Cannabis but a modified GMO. This means the medicines are about 90% less effective than traditional Cannabis/Marijuana, due to various factors addressed around the “entourage effect”. The paper then goes on to mention Cannabis “products”. It also mentions all cannabis products must be imported. It also mentions it expects usage to be low, and demand for the product to be low as well.
Much of the discussion paper and the Bill treat access tougher than that of other drugs including opiates, and in other instances the same as opiates where Cannabis has never seen a death due to over dosages.
The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 – http://bit.ly/QLD-mc-apr2016
There is a lack of formality in the writing of some aspects of the bill – (e.g. Safeguards for seized “things”), but over detailed in others.
Definitions – The bill it itself is blessed with issues around purposeful bad or improper definitions – In Federal and Vic bills they have struggled to date with using good definitions as well and apparently on purpose. The use of the word marijuana (a name for the product cannabis with a THC above 3% per the TGA but normally 10% or higher) has been abandoned in favor of the word Cannabis. Unfortunately, when manipulated or redefined “cannabis” can mean GMO (genetically modified organism) cannabis, industrial hemp, marijuana, or pharmaceutical products that contain only extracts of Cannabis). Like federal and Victoria state definitions, it has created the word Cannabis to include all of these. This means uses of the words “medical Cannabis” (or Cannabis anything) is not well defined to protect the public in knowing what they are getting or what is being discussed. The definition used is from the 1937 UN doctrines and not used in Australia by the TGA for decades (per the TGA). Pharmacies again are the only avenue of consideration ignoring the best products for physical and mental use based on the experiences outside Australia of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Approval for Use – the requirements for usage, is onerous and disproportionate compared to other medications, where personal circumstances, criminal history reports, police approval, and the number of experts and levels of approval are disproportionate to a medicine that has never seen a documented over dose in hundreds of years. It was commented recently it will be easier to get a gun legally than to get medical cannabis legally. References are then made back to following TGA guidelines. Those TGA guidelines have been in place for decades and to date it is not believed. Identity Cards– will be issued to all authorized individuals giving way to privacy concerns and the logistics, of the cards and of course how pharmacies will be getting what-ever product is agreed to. Additional Police Empowerment – Is addressed in the bill from home and workplace entry, to having to identify yourself as a cannabis user if pulled over by the police for a 100% non-related matter, additional seizure of property guidelines etc. New Penalties for Illegal Use – Though the scope of the bill does not address specific products that will be used, it does specify new penalties for illegal use of all Cannabis that is higher than was previously. Protection from officials from civil prosecution in all matters of Cannabis, confiscations etc.