Lucy Haslam to meet with the chair of the federal government's medicinal cannabis advisory council

Lucy Haslam
Lucy Haslam

Medical cannabis progress

THOUSANDS of medicinal cannabis users in Australia are still criminal, Lucy Haslam says as she prepares to shine a light on the issue for one of the government’s top advisors.

Mrs Haslam says there is “an elephant in the room” when it comes to patients getting access to medicinal cannabis.

Her calls come nearly two months after the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, authorised the importation of a stockpile of medical cannabis “until domestic production meets local needs”.

Next week, Mrs Haslam will meet with Professor James Angus, who was appointed as chair of the federal government’s Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis.

“At the moment, nothing has really changed for patients in Australia,” Mrs Haslam said.

“We’ve still got thousands of patients using cannabis medically, for very valid reasons, who all have to get it from the black market.

“The pathways the governments have set up are so restrictive and so difficult that [patients] either don’t qualify or they can’t find a doctor who can help him.

“I’m going to be telling him about these kind of problems.”

The advisory council was established in February 2017 to “provide expert advice to government”.

Tamworth’s medical cannabis campaigner said she had concerns about the advisory council.

“When you look at the advisory council, it’s really been stacked against medical cannabis, which is completely inappropriate,” Mrs Haslam said.

“That’s what I want to see him about, that really worries me a lot.”

A statement from the Department of Health said the appointment of the council would be to ensure the nation’s supply was “safe and responsible”.

“Professor Angus will assist in ensuring timely and safe access for patients including improving co-ordination between the federal and individual state regulators,” the statement said.

Lucy Haslam became a campaigner for medical cannabis after her son fought a torrid battle with bowel cancer. Dan Haslam died in February 2015.