SA Greens MLC Tammy Franks has called upon Premier Weatherill to announce a compassionate amnesty on the use of medical cannabis while SA Health regulates access consistent with the intent of the national framework.
Greens Health Spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC says: “Throughout 2016, our State Government was well aware of the fact that medical cannabis was in the process of being made legally accessible across Australia”
“They knew that once the federal framework - legalising the cultivation of medicinal cannabis and rescheduling it - was enacted, the onus was on them to create the pathways for ill people in South Australia to access this treatment.
“Other states are taking action. In Victoria, cultivation has already begun. They passed their Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill in April last year, which means children with epilepsy will be the first to have access to treatment this year.
“Instead of taking action to assist the people who need this treatment immediately, the Government has sat on its hands. All that SA Health has done so far is release a discussion paper for comment. While public consultation is a crucial part of the process, the fact that our Government continues to ignore the cries for help and leniency from ill South Australians is unnecessarily cruel.
“The relevant federal legislation as enacted on November 1 last year. This period of consultation should have been finished by then. South Australia should have been ready to provide patients with accessible pathways to treatment as soon as these changes came in.
“Instead of facilitating access, we see SAPOL conducting raids and arresting local suppliers. Under the same rules, despite Federal legislation, local consumers are also at risk of raid and arrest.
“I call upon the Premier to provide a way for those accessing medical cannabis to be protected from unnecessary police interference. New South Wales currently has a register which terminally-ill patients can join and be given leniency under existing cannabis laws.
“We also need compassion and leniency with growers of medicinal cannabis. It’s not much use if the government allows people to use medicinal cannabis but then arrests the people who are helping provide it.”