Significant delays in developing the Medical Cannabis scheme
Public consultation on Medicinal Cannabis is not due until mid-to-late July, after multiple delays in the scheduling. Early OIA requests showed the initial date was planned for the 22nd April, putting the scheme 3 months behind, with 6 months to go.
The Labour party election promise was to legalise within 100 days of assuming office, after assuming power, it vowed to Introduce legislation within the first 100 days. Now, over 18 months down the track, little visible progress has been made, and schedules are slipping.
"Labour had 2 big health promises, a mental health enquiry, which quite rightly spawned nearly 2 billion dollars in additional spending, and the legalization of Medical Cannabis, which has been orphaned in comparison to the lavish attention heaped elsewhere by the government."
"We are very concerned that given that the government is so far behind at this stage, it's possible that the public consultation process may be cut short. If there is a short window for consultation, this could lead to people battling chronic conditions not being able to have their voices heard. Also, if this phase is not cut short, corners must be cut elsewhere, or the deadline potentially missed, meaning that vulnerable people will continue to source cannabis from the black market.” Says Mark Crotty, MCANZ Spokesperson Mark Crotty.
Due to the constant delays to the schedule, and early results from an MCANZ Sponsored study, MCANZ will be placing greater emphasis on promoting harm reduction to the patient community due to the lack of progress and no affordability on the horizon.
“We have released a brochure around harm reduction of cannabis use. This will help patients who cannot afford the hundred or even thousands of dollars per month for legal options, to use their illicitly sourced cannabis more safely, as over half of medical users prefer smoking to other methods.”
“The interim results of our survey of over 1900 Cannabis consumers, will be discussed with politicians and regulators over the next few weeks." Says Mark.