Medical cannabis 'needs real law behind it': One Nation MP
One Nation MP Steve Dickson, Independent MP Rob Pyne and councillor Jonathan Sri lead a rally supporting medicinal cannabis outside Queensland Parliament. One Nation MP Steve Dickson has begun his first week in Parliament representing his new party by proposing steps to make whole cannabis plants available for sick Queenslanders - and subsidised by the government.
The member for Buderim, who has been moved from his place among his former colleagues to a lonely seat in the back row since defecting from the LNP, introduced a private member's bill on Tuesday morning.
Mr Dickson cited medicinal cannabis as his reason for leaving the LNP, but members of his party voiced their doubt. The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill passed in 2016, allowing doctors to apply for access to medicinal cannabis for patients. But growing whole plants for personal medicinal use remains illegal. Speaking in Parliament, Mr Dickson said local production was not yet available for Queenslanders and the "wheels of government are not turning fast enough". "These people have been relying on illegal, black-market options and there is no relief in sight," Mr Dickson said. He suggested the CSIRO could become involved to ensure products were safe. There are no businesses licensed to manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia, meaning products must be imported. Mr Dickson said it could take some time for people to receive products from overseas, and an amnesty was required. His bill asks the health minister to "take steps to ensure whole plant medicinal cannabis is affordable". It asks the minister to negotiate with the Commonwealth to ensure the "applicable law of the Commonwealth regulating the importation of whole plant medicinal cannabis does not unnecessarily restrict the importation of whole plant medicinal cannabis from particular foreign manufacturers". It also calls for state or federal governments to subsidise the cost of lawful treatment with whole plant medicinal cannabis imported from overseas. Mr Dickson spoke at the Enough is Enough rally, organised by the Australian Cannabis Coalition and held outside Parliament on Tuesday morning, which was also attended by Greens councillor Jonathan Sri. "This is a real product that needs real law behind it to allow everybody to use it every day that needs it in this country, without prosecution from the law, without the government knocking on your door late at night," Mr Dickson told the rally. "That's why I put my job on the line, that's why I've got Senator Hanson pushing the Prime Minister in the federal government as we speak to change the law so that everybody has got the use of whole plant medical cannabis." Mr Dickson told the small group he was limited in what he could propose in a bill in Queensland. A supporter yelled out: "Steve Dickson for Premier!" as he finished his speech. Independent member for Cairns Rob Pyne, who also attended the rally, said he would support Mr Dickson's bill.
Mr Pyne said dealing with serious illness was expensive and stressful. "Why should we force people to spend money on pharmaceutical products if you can grow the whole plant organically in your backyard for medicinal use?" Mr Pyne said. "Police have better things to do than to look over fences of the ill." Mr Pyne said he also supported an amnesty for anyone charged for purchasing or accessing medicinal cannabis. "I have previously stated my support for Steve Dickson on this and continue to do so," he said. The bill has been referred to a parliamentary committee for consideration. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/medical-cannabis-needs-real-law-behind-it-one-nation-mp-20170214-gucb1y.html