Greens warn cannabis still can't be prescribed by doctors
NEW draft laws to allow Australians to legally grow medicinal cannabis do not meet the "key criteria" of letting doctors prescribe the drug to patients, Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said Wednesday.
Health Minister Sussan Ley on Wednesday introduced a bill into the lower house to nationally regulate cannabis production for medicinal or scientific purposes.
Ms Ley said the proposed laws would create a national licensing scheme for cultivation of the drug, describing it as the "missing piece" in a patient's journey to access cannabis for medical conditions.
Under current drug laws, local production is allowed for authorised prescribers and clinical trials, but laws outlawing cannabis more widely have to date prevented local growers from satisfying demand from legitimate medical patients.
Ms Ley said she had worked for two months with state governments, stakeholders and law enforcement agencies on the draft laws, but federal politicians were not given a copy until Wednesday.
But she believed the consultations completed to date could ensure the government could get the laws passed in their current form.
Senator Di Natale, a former GP, said the laws crucially did not legalise general practitioners prescribing the drug to patients.
"This means that as far as doctors are concerned, medicinal cannabis is still illegal for them to give to patients," he said.
He said while the introduction of the laws into parliament was a "first step", he indicated the Senate would scrutinise the laws and potentially refer the legislation out for a committee inquiry.
Ms Ley said she wanted to pass the laws through parliament this sittings session, or before the end of March.