Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Member for Bass
The Liberals' Controlled Access Scheme for medicinal cannabis begins tomorrow, but very few Tasmanians will be able to access it. While the access scheme is being rolled out, many people who already grow and use cannabis for medical purposes are in a state of limbo.
The Greens are proud to release our Medicinal Cannabis Registration Scheme policy initiative*, which provides protection for compassionate growers. Patients currently using medicinal cannabis, and their parents and carers, should not have to be uncertain about where they stand under the law.
Our registration scheme is based on the New South Wales model, which provides a level of protection missing in Tasmania.
When the Greens raised this matter in Parliament, Police Minister, Rene Hidding, said he would consider a registration scheme for Tasmania. It’s deeply disappointing to hear the Liberals rule that out today.
At present, police are forced to use their own discretion about whether an individual is carrying cannabis for medical purposes, and ultimately, whether they are charged. Registering compassionate growers and users provides assurance for patients themselves, and also protects those police officers.
Protections for compassionate growers need a formal framework. Patients and carers are at risk of having their medicinal cannabis confiscated, which can detrimental to their health, or the health of the loved ones.
Medicinal cannabis is a well-established treatment for a broad range of conditions. A controlled access scheme will take time, and the Liberals must protect patients and their families already using it.