Lucy Haslam has decided to turn the screws on her medicinal cannabis campaign, claiming that “Australia is the laughing stock of the world” when it comes to patient access.
The Tamworth campaigner is in the process of planning another Sydney based symposium before next year’s federal election, as well as running a local RACGP accredited medical cannabis training course, although she has already come under fire, and suspects the powerful pharmaceutical industry are behind it.
The course, which is funded by United in Compassion, “is to help doctors understand what they are prescribing and to help them manage the hurdles they might face” in prescribing cannabis to patients.
Recently a group calling themselves Friends of Science and Medicine, who are backed by Sceptics Australia, have criticised the course in an article published in a medical journal.
“They always slam anything complementary that can’t be synthesised or patented,” Mrs Haslam said.
“It looks like big pharma have raised their head, and when that happens basic humanity and compassion are lost.
“It becomes all about money, greed, biases, vested interests and ulterior motives – Australia is the laughing stock of the world with how we have gone about it.”
The system in Australia is so convoluted that after two and a half years of legalising medicinal cannabis there are currently only 1000 patients accessing it, at great cost.
After just 12 months in Germany there have been 16,000 patients able to access the treatment, and claim it on their health insurance.
“We have made a conscious decision to go a bit harder between now and the election,” Mrs Haslam said.
“Unfortunately I think it will have to become an election issue if we want to see a change in attitude.”
The drought has also taken a toll on the campaign, with the family shelving plans for a repeat of last year’s inaugural Hummingbird Ball for United in Compassion.
“I just don’t think I can ask people for money at the moment,” she said.
“The town is already very quiet and businesses are feeling the impact of what the farmers are feeling.
“We should be prioritising farmers, and see where we are at next year.”