Nick Supported Medicinal Cannabis

FICTION:

Nick voted against legalising medicinal cannabis during his time in the senate.

FACT:

Nick actually supported the legalisation of medicinal cannabis [Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation (Narcotic Drugs) Regulation 2016] during his time in the Senate in 2016, ensuring adequate safegaurds were in place.

Furthermore, SA-BEST supports the legalisation of medicinal cannabis (with adequate safeguards in place). More info can be found here.

The confusion comes from June 2017 when the Senate introduced a disallowance motion striking down Items 1 and 4 of the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation (Narcotic Drugs) Regulation 2016 (the original 2016 Bill legalising medicinal cannabis). The disallowance means that imported medicinal cannabis products only, not domestically produced product, can now be supplied through the Special Access Scheme Category A, albeit by patient-by-patient imports (see Medicinal Cannabis Products: Special Access Scheme Category A).

Simply put, there is a special category A through the TGA that says that, if you have a life-threatening illness, you can actually go to your doctor and your doctor will make sure you get this drug in your hands to help you. It is a special pathway for people with a terminal illness. It also relates to importation. If you have a terminal illness and you get access to medicinal cannabis while you are travelling overseas, you can actually bring it into Australia (more info here.)

NXT supported the government AGAINST the motion (i.e., not to disallow those items) on the basis that they would introduce more streamlined measures to allow Australian products. Greg Hunt handed Nick a letter outlining those measures. (There is a reference here to McGrath tabling a letter from Hunt to Xenophon on page 123) 

The Bill then came back up in October 2017. NXT supported it again, and here's Skye Kakosche-Moore saying exactly that: "the minister provided NXT with a list of actions the government was prepared to take to ensure faster and more streamlined access to medicinal cannabis for terminally ill patients in particular. NXT acknowledges the government has made some progress in relation to the actions and undertakings, but there is still a long way to go. The longer we wait for the government to act, the longer we prolong the suffering of terminally ill patients." (More here).

In short, Nick voted for the original 2016 Bill that legalised medicinal cannabis, but then in May 2017 voted down an amendment that would have allowed patients to import from overseas BECAUSE the Government assured him that they'd fast track measures that would assure a high quality Australian supply.

More Details:

(24 Feb 2016) THE SENATE BILLS - Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 Second Reading Speech

(11 May 2017) Senate Official Hansard

(15 Jun 2017) The Office of Drug Control - Medicinal cannabis products: Special Access Scheme Category A

(16 Jun 2017) The Office of Drug Control - Supply of medicinal cannabis product under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967

(19 Oct 2017) Medicinal Cannabis Legislation Amendment (Securing Patient Access) Bill 2017 Second Reading

(15 Mar 2018) SA-BEST GIVES GO-AHEAD TO MEDICINAL CANNABIS

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