Kelly Vincent – 5AA Interview on Medical Cannabis

Andrew Reimer: Kelly Vincent you’re going to be talking to us about medicinal marijuana.

Kelly Vincent: this week the Dignity Party have joined with a number of other crossbench parties including the Greens and the Xenophon Party to call on the Government to finally put in place a framework to actually allow for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed here in the state because what happened about a year or so ago is that the Federal Government did make changes which does allow for medicinal cannabis to be used legally but what they have done is left it up to the states to decide exactly how that will operate and who will be able to legally prescribe cannabis for medical purposes. And to date despite it being a year since that decision was made we have no authorised prescribers in this state of South Australia and so people are still effectively being forced to source medical cannabis from the internet and other places which, while it can be a good thing, it does also leave people up to getting products of questionable effectiveness and quality and also open to financial exploitation as well. I’ve seen this happen with people I’ve been dealing with – once people realise, once the interstate or international player realises that they’re getting it from a place like South Australia where they can’t get it from a local prescriber at the moment they’ll up the price by quite a lot and so it leaves people open to being exploited both in the quality of the product, of the medicine, and financial exploitation as well – so it’s definitely not an acceptable solution so we’d love to see the State Government finally step up and actually provide a simple attainable framework for doctors to easily prescribe medical cannabis for those who need it.

Andrew Reimer: I was speaking to the Minister Kyam Maher earlier on and it looks like there’s going to be support for what you’re talking about there’s just got to be some structure into the framework when it comes to the THC levels and if that can be agreed upon, if it can be ensured that the people doing it are deemed to be responsible people and it’s all within the law, it looks like it’s going to go ahead.

Kelly Vincent: the important thing to remember is it is already within the law to be doing this. The Federal Government have supported it, it’s just that the State Government hasn’t yet provided that framework for doctors to actually prescribe that clear framework, so that’s what we’re calling on together with these other parties for the State Government to step up and do.

Andrew Reimer: It shouldn’t be hard to do considering Victoria’s been doing it since 1998 and other states and territories have followed suit.

Kelly Vicent: it’s not like we don’t have other frameworks to borrow ideas from and I think in the meantime as well we could even borrow, even in the interim, some ideas from places like New South Wales where they do at least have a compassionate use scheme which allows for adults with a terminal illness to register and for police officers to make determinations based on their discretion as to whether they’ll press charges against that person or not because they’re known to be using that medical cannabis for reasons linked to a terminal illness. So even in the interim I think there are some really important steps we could take to ensure that people who are in really dire straits aren’t facing charges on top of the illnesses that they and their families are already facing.

Andrew Reimer: thank you very much for that.

Kelly Vincent: Any time, thanks Andrew.