A GOOD THING FOR LAW REFORM
5 March 2019
In 2017 and 2018, Labor NSW tried to unsuccessfully, to legalise REAL Cannabis for medical use. The lack of support from the self-proclaimed Cannabis community was deafening in its silence and apathy. The result both times was Labor would be shy of the needed votes in the lower and upper houses to progress the bill. Labor being in opposition would require 2-4 people crossing the party lines from the LNP, to support, amend or offer their own Bill. Nationals did promise to offer their own Bill but never did, though it was supported by a local Tamworth NSW self-proclaimed Cannabis Activist for “ALL Australians” that was behind supporting, pushing and taking credit for the law changes in 2016, that left Australia in the mess we are today nationally and including NSW. Who ironically is the angel of the pharmaceutical community, that has for 3 years stopped access to REAL Cannabis in lieu of anything else.
The result is Australia is the worlds 2nd largest importer of “Medical Cannabis pharmaceuticals from Canada that include no THC.
This may be confusing to many as Australia had already legalised Cannabis for medical use Federally in 2016. However, the government did not want anyone to access REAL Cannabis so put in many restrictions working with the states prior.
- This change in definition combined the multiple definitions of Cannabis per the United Nations, Canada, and the USA into one. The UN defines and schedules Cannabis based on if it has THC or not.
- The Australia change means CBD (only derived from hemp) and THC (only derived from Cannabis) and all pharmaceutical varieties were the same.
- To limit access, states allowed few if any conditions where Cannabis was able to be offered ahead of CBD, or other pharmaceuticals.
- The result is that there was deemed no legal demand for REAL Cannabis so no licenses for human access are granted for REAL Cannabis only for research (3-5 or 10 years per the Cochran Gold Standard testing), or more recently the ability to export.
- To minimise public outrage, very few scripts would be offered period, 3000 now since 2016 and less than 2% include THC over 2%.
This brings us to the 2019 NSW election in 3 weeks time. Labor policy has not wavered, and legalising REAL Cannabis for medical use is high on the agenda and has even been well supported by the NSW Greens all along, as the bill came from bi partisan talks in 2013 that is how long this bill took to happen. Some highlights of the NSW 2019 Cannabis Bill:
- No scripts – for Real Cannabis for medical use. (GPs cannot or do not want to script real cannabis even when they support it due to pressures of the AMA, and state health officials that also impacts insurance costs by GPs. “The federal access scheme is cumbersome, bureaucratic, and ultimately, very difficult for people to navigate. Often, because you have to deal with state and federal bureaucracies” All you need based on this bill, where if you have a terminal illness, or another serious condition, all you need is a doctor to certify that’s what you’ve got, and then that provides the gateway to having criminal sanctions for acquiring and using cannabis for medicinal purposes lifted”
- Buy from the Black Market Initially – while supply is worked out, no prosecutions per the bill.
- Support for Caregivers – parents and others are no longer the criminals
- Home Grows – in limited numbers
- Legal Possession – around 1 oz standard but can be more depending on conditions.
- Support for Local Growers – & Caregivers not just Big Pharma
- Flexibility – The current federal and state regimes are not flexible enough to cater for the current demand where thousands are still buying from the black market.
- Federal Labor Support – Labor Bill Shorten has a challenge, in that ACT laws are more Liberal (Cannabis is decriminalised in ACT) and are moving to recreational use if they get past the Greens coup, NSW is in the middle and QLD, WA and Victoria are much further to the right. Shorten has said in support of the NSW policy that the TGA /ODC is a bottle neck and if his own child needed REAL Cannabis, he would break the law also.
- Pricing of Medical Cannabis – at an average of over 500% over black market pricing, for a similar product Australians are still suffering, this will force the current pharmaceutical companies to adjust their price and availability of products.
WHAT NOW? –
If voting in NSW if Labor iwns by 51% or more then REAL Cannabis for medical use will be officially on its way.