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TASMANIA CAN LEAD THE WORLD ON MEDICINAL CANNABIS-IF THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT GETS OUT OF THE WAY - Media Release, Friday 21 July 2017

Today I am visiting Tasmanian Alkaloids to see for myself how the medicinal cannabis industry will be another example of Tasmania forging a path for the rest of Australia to follow in plant-based therapeutic products, along with our world-leading poppy industry.

I congratulate Tasmania Alkaloids and Tasmania Botanics for having the foresight to successfully seek medicinal cannabis licenses. 

These licenses enable the companies to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis for the Australian and International markets. 

I really believe Tasmania can become a global leader in the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis, just like we have become with the world's legal opium crops. 

However, the time it has taken for these licenses to be granted is another disappointing example of the Turnbull government’s characteristic chaos and indifference.

I have been advocating for medicinal cannabis to be made available in Tasmania since I participated in the 2015 Senate inquiry, but progress has been painfully, and needlessly, slow.

Medicinal cannabis is not a new or controversial alternative treatment. It was legal in Australia until the 1950s, and there are now successful treatment schemes in operation around the world.

The Turnbull government joined Labor in passing Federal legislation in February 2016 to allow medicinal cannabis to be legally available in Australia, but has since then taken almost a year and a half to grant any licenses. 

Now patients face another wait for the State government to allow specialist doctors to prescribe it under their controlled access scheme. 

I'm calling on the Turnbull government to find the courage to take its foot off the brake and start supporting the Tasmanian medicinal cannabis industry to develop by granting licences in a timely fashion.

FRIDAY, 21 JULY 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:  TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0429 820 344