“This should have happened a year ago” said Lucy Haslam on the most recent developments in the seemingly unending push for medicinal cannabis access.
Lucy has been a tireless crusader for this cause for years, but the finish line always seems just slightly out of reach.
Medicinal cannabis legislation was passed on February 24, last year.
But the system that came with it was a “bureaucratic nightmare”.
With no licences issued for Australian manufacturers, patients were forced to navigate a tricky system, finding authorised prescribers and products that can’t be advertised and can be imported legally.
All this while you’re living with a serious illness.
Health Minster Greg Hunt swooped in on Wednesday and said supplies would be imported to build local stocks, while we wait for the domestic industry to blossom.
The Office of Drug Control issued the first cannabis licence to an Australian supplier last week.
Until the local industry grows, Australia will have a stockpile of medicinal cannabis within eight weeks.
Mrs Haslam said the announcement was the equivalent of filling the proverbial cannabis pantry.
The next challenge is making sure patients are able to go the pantry and access what they need, without needless hurdles in the way.
Potentially, authorised prescribers will be able to call on the country’s stockpile, the issue is patients being able to find the people with the keys to the pantry.
Prescribers are hard to find with a lot of authorised doctors involved with clinical trials.
Even doctors wanting to become a prescriber of medicinal cannabis face a lengthy application process.
Progress has been slow, but the progress is by no means insignificant.
Changing laws and the public opinion has become a key performance indicator for medicinal cannabis campaigners and it has been hard work for the little victories along the way.
As they tirelessly chip away at different levels of government, the conversation is getting hot, once again.
NSW Labor wants to introduce greater protection for the terminally ill in possession of cannabis. There’s plenty of movement, there’s still people who need action now.