Medical cannabis motion knocked back by senate

UP IN ARMS: Lucy Haslam "furious" over the senate's latest decision on medical marijuana. Photo: Peter Hardin 200217PHD004
UP IN ARMS: Lucy Haslam "furious" over the senate's latest decision on medical marijuana. Photo: Peter Hardin 200217PHD004

BATTLE-weary and tired, the never-ending fight for medicinal cannabis for the terminally ill has reached boiling point for Lucy Haslam.

The Australian Greens tried to disallow a change by the federal government which removed medical cannabis from Category A of Special Access Scheme.

If the move got support, it could have improved access to medical cannabis for patients, according to advocates.

The motion was lost in the Senate with One Nation and Nick Xenophon not supporting the Greens proposal.

Mrs Haslam said it was a “dark day for the country”.

The Tamworth advocate has fought a constant battle for medical marijuana, through the ordeal of with cancer with her son, Dan, and following his death in 2015. Now, she has told The Leader, “the gloves are off”.

Mrs Haslam successfully lobbied the federal Labor party to back the Greens bill, but it proved futile, with the Senate vote being tied at 32-a-piece, meaning the motion failed.

“For people with a terminal illness, they can access any unapproved medication except cannabis,” she said.

“Patients are still stuck with the black market.”

Mrs Haslam’s organisation United in Compassion will be hosting its medical cannabis symposium in Melbourne next month, which she said will be become “a massive platform” in pushing for better access.

It has been a trying period for Mrs Haslam, meeting with politicians and advisers at state and federal levels to make sure patients have the less barriers to accessing medical cannabis.

While the Greens bill getting scuttled in the Senate has kicked in her campaign back into gear, the work is taking its toll.

“I’m so tired,” she said.

“I didn’t think it would still have to be doing this.

“I’m extremely battle-weary.”

Mrs Haslam said groups that had been “flying under the radar” would soon be making a bit more noise on the issue and anticipating “a big people’s movement” and medical cannabis becoming an election issue.

Meanwhile, the NSW government announced it was expanding its medical cannabis trial for chemotherapy patients in seven locations around the state.

The hospitals will be able to take part in a trial for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting with new anti-nausea and cannabis products.


My name is Lucy Haslam and I am a medicinal Cannabis Advocate after seeing the miraculous relief it gave to my son Dan when he was battling stage 4 bowel cancer.

Yesterday was a really hard day for me as I sat in my small home office organising the 2017 Medicinal Cannabis Symposium for Melbourne next month. My phone rings constantly. Read More.

‘System set up to fail’

NEARLY one year after the federal government passed its landmark medical cannabis legislation, the situation for terminally-ill patients is getting worse, says Tamworth campaigner Lucy Haslam.

Mrs Haslam slammed the current state of affairs on the eve of the first anniversary of the bill passing.

“Unless the government changes they way they’ve written the legislation, the system’s been set up to fail,” Mrs Haslam said. Read more.


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