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Medical cannabis guidelines a positive step for family

REGISTER FOR HEALTH: Greg, Lachlan and Rhonda Miles. TOOWOOMBA mother Rhonda Miles has cautiously welcomed the government's release of new medicinal cannabis guidelines but called for an amnesty and supply-chain assurance in the near future. Mrs Miles' son Lachlan has refractory epilepsy and the family hopes medicinal cannabis can help with his seizures, but has been denied access because of legalities and supply issues. State Minister for Health Cameron Dick today released new guidelines for doctors to legally prescribe the drug legally to patients of any age or condition. "These new guidance documents provide health practitioners with information about what is allowed to be prescribed, the form it will come in and information about dosing and direction on the best sources of information that can be obtained in relation to medicinal cannabis prescribing,” he said. "Three key documents will help guide clinicians through the process of consulting, prescribing and supplying medicinal cannabis to those who need it most.” Lachlan is one of those patients and while the guidelines were welcomed by his family, the concern remains about access to the drug. Mrs Miles said the "true test” of the medical cannabis legislation was accessibility and affordability. "It concerns us greatly that patients are still at risk of unjust prosecution as no amnesty has been given by the Queensland government to protect patients who are doing nothing more than acting in their interests of their health,” she said. "The proof of success of the Queensland scheme will be if doctors are able to, and willing to, prescribe a range of products. "This will only happen if there is an affordable and accessible supply established in this country. "In the meantime until the issues of supply is addressed patients are left to break the law and run the gauntlet of dealing with the black market.” The guidelines, developed in consultation with the Australian Medical Association Queensland and pharmacy companies, will be distributed around the state. Mrs Miles said medicinal cannabis supply and access was a "social justice issue” that must be addressed by both levels of government. She said the state laws would be tested in the next 12 months as patients seek to access the product. "We also believe the roll-out is extremely slow and that we need to in the meantime protect patients who cannot get legal access through trials or importation from unjust prosecution.” she said.

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