The fight for medical Cannabis in Australia is heating up and while there has been some progress, patients in need are still facing significant challenges.
These challenges are not limited to the fact that the procedure to get medical Cannabis is so lengthy and complicated that so far only about 150 patients have been able to access their medication. Unfortunately, patients in serious need of medical Cannabis also face prosecution.
Compassionate Cannabis medicine providers and patients are being prosecuted by police despite the fact that medical Cannabis now supposed to be legal in Australia.
At this stage, the current system does not suit the majority of the patients, largely due to the heavily restricted conditions it is approved for.
Conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and PTSD, for example, are not eligible to be treated with medical Cannabis despite the overwhelming evidence of its efficiency and safety.
On the top of that, only a limited variety of Cannabis medication is available and whatever happens to be available costs significantly more (approximately 400% more) to what Cannabis costs from the underground market. Patients with conditions that aren’t eligible, or patients who cannot afford the overpriced Cannabis medication through the system, or the ones who require specific strains for effective symptom relief are literally all forced to home grow.
The reality is that home grow is the only way for many patients in Australia to access often life-saving medication that is definitely safe and free of contaminants, however, it does not come risk-free.
Most of the patients who go through the devastating experience of getting busted by police, we never get to hear about, as often they choose to stay private because they are just too ashamed to come out and share their story.
When Deb Lynch, the secretary of the Medical Cannabis Users Association of Australia (MCUA) got arrested on Cannabis charges recently, she kept her spirit high and saw it as the next step in the battle she and other patients have been fighting for years.
Medical cannabis is legal in a growing number of countries, including more than half of the States in the US and sick patients are still getting arrested for looking after themselves.
Patients are arrested for growing a plant that is well-known to be the least harmful therapeutic substance that is known to humans. It is easier to die from drinking too much water than from taking too much Cannabis.
How is it possible to find anything rational about prosecuting sick patients for looking after themselves and growing their own medicine that works for them and provides an otherwise unachievable quality of life?
92% of Australians support legalizing medical Cannabis so prosecuting patients is obviously not serving the Australian public in any ways and terrifying for patients.
After a few days of Deb’s arrest, I noticed that none of the main media outlets seemed to be rushing to provide a platform to tell this outrageous event that everyone should know about.
I reached out to Deb and thanks to Gail Hester, President at the MCUA, we got to film Deb’s incredible story, so you get to see what patents in Australia are dealing with on the everyday basis.
What you don’t get to learn from the video is that Deb, Gail, Belinda and many others at the MCUA and other patients support groups across the country are working very long hours, often 7 days a week to advance the medical Cannabis cause in Australia, while they are suffering from various conditions.
They are fighting the battle for everyone and instead of the hero status they deserve, they often get prosecuted.
Deb believes that the tipping point has been missed by the government and not only patients but the general public is also waking up to the outrageous Cannabis laws, that are costing lives as even the patients most in need don’t yet have access to affordable, life-saving, whole plant Cannabis medication.
Deb mentions a number of things that we can all do with a small amount of effort to pinch in with the fight and get our voices heard.
We can’t allow this to continue to happen to patients, we have to be the voice for the voiceless and stand up for our basic human right to access effective medication.
Update from 19th of July 2017:
Here is a video update about Deb’s first court appearance at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on 19 July 2017: