Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has released exposure draft legislation for consultation, and a discussion paper, to legalise medical cannabis. Mr Rattenbury says the legislation will allow people who are sick or dying to access treatment without risking criminal sanction.
“I have heard from people who are suffering from chronic pain, who are dying, or who are watching a friend or family member suffer without relief. This legislation is for them – it’s about showing them compassion, and removing the threat of criminal sanction.
“Almost seventy percent of Australians support legalising cannabis for medical purposes. As the community’s understanding of the medical evidence grows, so too has their support for legalising medical cannabis so that the sick and dying can have access to pain and symptom relief.
“Currently in the ACT, and in Australia, it is illegal to use cannabis for pain relief, and those who use it to cope with their symptoms risk criminal prosecution.
“I, and the Greens, don’t believe that we should punish the sick for trying to access treatment that makes their pain more bearable or the remainder of their lives more tolerable.
“In other places around the world, like Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and more than twenty states in the US, medical cannabis is prescribed and administered by doctors like any other medication that can provide therapeutic benefit to patients who are suffering.
“Our proposed legislation legalises medical cannabis so that those who rely on it to alleviate their conditions can self-administer the treatment without fear of criminal sanction. I am confident the community will support this move towards compassion.
The discussion paper will be open for community feedback from 21 July to 15 September.