If the Premier has advice that makes it difficult for the Liberals to support the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2014, he should release the advice and propose a workable alternative to protect those Tasmanians who currently live in a state of significant legal uncertainty over their medical cannabis use, Greens’ Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP said today.
“It is reported that Mr Hodgman says it’s unlikely the Liberals will support the Greens’ Amendment Bill because of advice and concerns over people ‘self-medicating’ and the undefined quantities of medical cannabis that may be used in a defence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001,” Ms O’Connor said.
“I suspect the Liberals problem with the legislation has more to do with the fact that, although it is sensible, it is a Greens’ Bill.”
“The Premier should be aware that people are already self-medicating and they are currently unprotected by the law. As to the question of quantities of a controlled plant or its product that would lead to a charge being laid for either minor or serious offences, they are set out in the Principal Act.”
“If a charge was laid under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 and the matter were to come before a Court, it would be for the Court to decide whether the defence put forward by a person who is self-medicating with medicinal cannabis was in fact a legitimate defence.”
“I am certain that those Tasmanians who are crying out for this reform and do not want to be treated as criminals would want to know the Premier is prepared to work constructively on this issue.”
“If the Bill in its current form is not acceptable to the government, the Premier or his Health Minister need to propose an alternative and work with the Parliament to protect legitimate medicinal cannabis users in Tasmania.”
“Come on Premier. Be propositional. Be constructive. Show you are compassionate and that on this important issue, you are prepared to put people before politics,” Ms O’Connor said.