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Far North fight for medicinal cannabis far from over

Debbie Cliff who suffers from EDS poses at a gathering of supporters for the legalization of medicinal cannabis along the Cairns Esplanade on Saturday to raise awareness and benefits for ill patients.Picture Justin Brierty MEDICINAL cannabis may soon be available to those who need it most, but not all patients in the Far North are celebrating.

Earlier this week, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the drug could be imported and available within eight weeks.

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch welcomed the move but said it had been taking too long for legitimate patients to access medicinal cannabis since it was legalised last year. “There’s still a fair journey to go. I understand the complexities of this in making sure we get it right,” he said.

“We are not legalising it for recreational use.

“We need to make sure it is grown and produced purely for medicinal use. “We’ve now approved a process to bring in product from Canada in volumes that will allow us to have it stored here so it’s readily available as (patients) need it.” However, Cairns State MP Rob Pyne said there would be no need to import medicinal cannabis if people could simply grow it in their backyard. “Clearly the community is getting very frustrated with the current bureaucrats ... and I’m glad the Government is moving on it,” he said.

Half a dozen companies are ready to distribute medicinal marijuana immediately. Photo: istock “But the truth is there are many people out there, they want to access organic cannabis. “It seems the Government is more intent on giving a monopoly to the pharmaceutical companies.” Trinity Beach medicinal cannabis advocate Debbi Cliff, who is terminally ill with connective tissue disorder Ehlers Danlos syndrome, agreed with Mr Pyne. “I would like people to have access to knowledgeable compassionate carers and to whatever cannabis therapy they require,” she said.

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