The governing coalition in Australia is backed into the corner by the rest of the MP’s to show a little sign of compassion and help to fast-track access to medical cannabis for the terminally ill.
Health Minister Greg Hunt demonstrates total disconnection from everyday Australians and complete lack of understanding of medical cannabis. He keeps embarrassing the Government by playing the tough guy with the terminally ill and going as far as it takes to ensure that they cannot get speedy access to life-saving medical cannabis.
Australia wants patients to be able to access medical cannabis. As much as 91% of Australians support the legalisation of medical cannabis and by now most federal MP’s understand the therapeutic benefits of this plant from the neverending patients’ stories going on in the mainstream media.
The Greens put forward a motion in June to overturn the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) ability to delay the process of accessing medical cannabis. The government contacted importers in a legally questionable move, asking them to ignore the Senate’s decision.
The coalition government felt that they can go against the will of the Australian people and the Senate, so the Greens pushed further and tried to pass a bill.
The bill passed last week with support from the Greens, Labour and crossbenchers that united in compassion to help terminally ill Australians, who have been so severely let down by their government.
After passing the Senate, it is expected to be voted down by the government in the House of Representatives, where the Government controls the numbers.
Health Minister Hunt said the government would block the bill in the House based on advice from the Australian Medical Association.
“It is simple cruelty from this government,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale was quoted saying.
“These patients are dying and their doctors believe medicinal cannabis may alleviate their suffering, but the government is stopping them from getting it.”
Independent senator for Victoria, Derryn Hinch went further saying that the government’s position was a disgrace.
“I don’t give a damn that they are thwarting the will of the Senate, they are thwarting the will and the rights of sick people in Australia” he said.
David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democratic Party Senator for New South Wales said “The government and its Health Department officials have blood on their hands,” for blocking this legislation.
“They are responsible for terrible unnecessary suffering and a very likely number of premature deaths,” he told the Senate.
Unfortunately, due to the relatively new re-discovery of cannabis as a medicine, Australian doctors have not been trained on cannabis, as a matter of fact, they apparently don’t even learn about the endocannabinoid system.
Perhaps listening to the Australian public and showing some empathy towards dying patients would result in a better decision.
“The Turnbull Government stands by its commitment to provide access to medicinal cannabis in a safe and regulated way,” Hunt’s office was quoted saying.
The ‘safe and regulated way’ got as many as 153 patients access to medical cannabis in nearly a year since medical cannabis supposed to be legal in Australia.
Obviously, the actual real-life bureaucratic burden that the Greens and the rest of the parliament are trying to remove plays out very differently in patients’ lives than it does in the office of Greg Hunt.