An attempt to open up access to imported medicinal cannabis for dying patients has failed, prompting accusations the executive arm of the Government is defying the will of the Parliament.
Key points:Senate had overturned move to restrict importation of cannabis-based medicineGovernment subsequently warned importers not to follow Senate’s willGreens label Government actions ‘reprehensible’
In June a rainbow coalition of senators came together to defeat the Government and overturn restrictions on the importation of cannabis-based medicines for terminally ill patients.
But in an email obtained by Lateline, the Government subsequently warned importers they would be in breach of their permit and licence conditions if they followed the will of the Senate.
The email, sent by the Office of Drug Control in the Department of Health, notes the Senate vote “allows access to medicinal cannabis products under the Special Access Scheme Category A”.
But the email goes on to warn importers “it is a breach of your permit and licence conditions if you supply any imported medicinal cannabis product to a patient under SAS-A”.
Special Access Scheme for Category A enables medicines that are not on the register to be supplied to patients who are seriously ill and likely to die within months.
Leyonhjelm labels Government ‘cruel’
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said it was reprehensive behaviour by the Government.
“They’ve threatened importers that they will have their licence removed if they follow the law and make this drug available to people with a terminal illness,” he told Lateline.
Senator David Leyonhjelm said the Government was being “cruel”.
“Effectively, what that letter is saying is ‘We don’t care what the Senate decided. We’re telling you, you will not sell your cannabis products