The Tasmanian Parliament will be given an opportunity to provide temporary legal protection for people who are legitimately using medicinal cannabis and currently acting unlawfully under the state’s Misuse of Drugs Act 2001, Greens’ Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.
“We have prepared our Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2014 which will provide a defence in court should a person be charged for possessing, using or supplying a controlled plant or controlled plant product if they can prove it is for medicinal purposes.”
“At present, for example, the parents of children who suffer chronic, life-threatening seizures, face a maximum of 21 years in prison for supplying medicinal cannabis to their child to effectively control those seizures.”
“Fortunately, to date, police have not pressed charges against legitimate medicinal cannabis users in Tasmania but they are dancing a very fine line legally.”
“What happens if a member of the public reports a person for medicinal cannabis use and police are put in the position where they feel they must apply the current law?
“Our amendment Bill aims to provide a temporary legal protection to legitimate medicinal cannabis users, while providing legal certainty to Tasmania Police.”
“We have kept the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act minimal, in the hope that the major parties will see the sense in supporting this change as an interim measure while the Legislative Council completes its inquiry and reform at the national level progresses.”
“This is about looking after Tasmanians who are using medicinal cannabis to deal with the after effects of chemotherapy, who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and other neuromuscular conditions, as well as people like Kingston mum, Nicole Cowles, and a number of other parents who know that medicinal cannabis treatment has changed their children’s lives for the better.”
“Let’s take the politics out of this important issue and work together to protect these Tasmanians while reform progresses here and nationally,” Ms O’Connor said.