Opinion

MY SAY: Marijuana green light good, but just a start

GROWING: Medicinal cannabis growing at a US facility.
GROWING: Medicinal cannabis growing at a US facility. Nathan Denette

THE passing of legislation of medicinal cannabis treatments in State Parliament was a significant step forward for those suffering inconceivable pain.

It was a bi-partisan, common-sense approach to legislating what some would argue should be a basic human right.

The right to explore any option to ease pain and suffering of health conditions.

The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 passed unanimously last week, enabling oncologists, paediatric neurologists and palliative care specialists to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

That legislation won't be enacted until March next year though, much to the vexation of long-time medical marijuana campaigners.

Despite the progress, there are still calls to have an amnesty on all cannabis therapy users, their carers and cannabis therapists to allow access to whole-plant products.

Whole-plant cannabis oil is one treatment that is proving popular and successful at treating the symptoms of epilepsy and other debilitating conditions.

A number of parents and medicinal cannabis advocates spoke last week of the challenges they still face and that the legislation, while a positive, was not far-reaching enough to benefit all sufferers.

Under the recently-passed legislation other doctors, GPs included, would be able to seek permission from Queensland Health to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to patients with certain conditions.

Dispensation can also be sought in the interim by patients looking to access medicinal cannabis before the laws are introduced in March, 2017.

Using cannabis products to treat people without these permissions or prescriptions would remain illegal.

And that is where the problem lies for many families.

With many of the cannabis products to be imported from overseas for prescriptions under this legislation, many parents are seeking the okay to use locally-grown, whole-plant products.

They want to know the product they are using is natural, chemical-free and Australian-made.

So surely it's imperative we identify sites and begin production of a local supply of cannabis immediately?

To take a step in the right direction is great, but why not break into a sprint towards a better outcome?

A local supply would ideally lower the cost of the treatments if they were not to be included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and in doing so create a whole new industry, preferably in our region.

The legislation has to be applauded and so to the efforts of the campaigners and Buderim MP Steve Dickson who beat the drum long and loud on this issue.

But there is more to be done to help these people.

Topics:  medical cannabis my say opinion politics state government sunshine coast


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