#FixDansLaw: Help make medicinal cannabis accessible and affordable for Australians

#FixDansLaw: Help make medicinal cannabis accessible and affordable for Australians

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Lucy Haslam started this petition to Chris Bowen (Shadow Minister for Health) and

Seven years ago, hundreds of thousands of compassionate Australians helped legalise medicinal cannabis to relieve the suffering of patients like my son, Dan, but despite this win, politicians failed us. On his deathbed, Dan asked me to keep fighting until all patients that needed access could achieve it, so here I am in 2023, coming up to Dan’s 8th death anniversary, still trying to fulfill that promise.

The previous Coalition government regulated medicinal cannabis via the Special Access Scheme which meant that it was tightly controlled, access was restricted and full costs were to be borne by the patient.

I’m calling on the new Labor government to help us #FixDansLaw by launching a three-year pilot program of the Compassionate Access Scheme, Compass, for patients unable to afford medicinal cannabis for serious conditions.

All those years ago when we campaigned for change along with the support of 400,000 Austrlaians, it led to a positive cross-party bill that recognised that cannabis was worthy of a special set of regulatory controls. But the Coalition government threw out that bill and chose to amend the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, putting it in the approved-yet-unapproved pigeonhole.

The legislation that was passed seven years ago does not equate to access for many thousands of Australian patients. Right now, medicinal cannabis is a medicine for the wealthy. This new program will help address what the Coalition government failed to address: cost and affordability of medicinal cannabis.

There are many other dilemmas that have plagued patients from the outset. They do require a renewal of commitment from the Labor Party and a willingness to engage with the community to create meaningful change for genuine patients. 

When I first began lobbying politicians to legalise medicinal cannabis back in 2014, it was because I had witnessed first-hand just how much cannabis was relieving the suffering of my 24-year-old son who was dying from stage-four bowel cancer. My own perceptions of the harms and value of cannabis were conflicted as a nurse and mother, yet seeing Dan gain some long-lost quality of life has inspired me to continue this advocacy.

We have had to battle every step of the way to remove red tape, educate and advocate for patients. To help spread awareness, we are launching the Medicinal Cannabis Awareness Week on February 20 - 7 years since legalisation and 8 years since Dan’s death. Please sign and share this petition to join the movement.

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The 24th February 2019 marked the fourth anniversary of the death from bowel cancer of my beautiful 25-year-old son Dan Haslam - and is the third anniversary of the legislative changes we believed would make medicinal cannabis available to all sick Australians who needed it. 


When it was passed, they called it 'Dan's Law'. After years of campaigning, backed by this Change.org petition which at the time was signed by over 250,000 people, I was so proud. Dan wasn't beside me, but he was with me. But now I'm angry and bitterly disappointed.


Why? Because the medicinal cannabis system kickstarted by Dan's Law is a mess. Rather than making things easier, the legislative changes of 2016 which were supposed to make cannabis and cannabis products available to sick Australians have barely improved matters at all. Only around 2000 people have been able to legally access medicinal cannabis. Patients still struggle to obtain such medicines legally while a huge black market has developed servicing hundreds of thousands of people.  


The products supplied by this illicit market are of course of unknown quality and safety, completely illegal and are being used without medical supervision, placing thousands of sick people in harm’s way.


But it gets even worse. A knock-on of the 2016 Dan's Law legislation has been that medicinal cannabis and other cannabis products fall into a state of permanent ‘regulatory limbo’. They are – quite literally ‘approved unapproved medicines’. And the TGA, which approves new medicines in Australia, is simply ill-prepared to assess medicinal cannabis.


Dan’s Law was put in place to legalise the cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Australia. But was it all for nothing? That's why I'm therefore re-starting this petition and asking for your help to fix the medicinal cannabis mess. 


Please, sign and share this petition and help me honour my son's life and hard work. What we have now is an insult to his memory, and leaves hundreds of thousands of chronically and terminally ill Australians in unnecessary pain. 


#FixDansLaw
 

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At 500,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!