Peak medicinal cannabis advocacy body United in Compassion has today launched a re-vamped and more up-to-date website in a drive to be as clear as it can about its work, areas of focus as well as its positions and policies. A useful and in-depth patient guide for new and prospective users of medicinal cannabis will also be available for download along with presentations from the UIC 2019 Symposium.
At the same time, the organisation is calling on Australia’s nascent medical cannabis Industry to stand shoulder to shoulder with patients and advocates – or risk ‘failure and collapse’ in the future.
To date, just one local company has managed to bring a product to market three years after legislation was changed to permit cultivation and only a relatively small number of patients have been able to access expensive imported cannabis medicines.
Speaking about this and the site re-development, UIC Founder and Executive Director Lucy Haslam – who with late son Dan successfully campaigned for a change the law which happened in 2016 – said:
‘After a highly successful Symposium in March, some excellent media coverage recently, 130,000+ names added to the existing 250,000 supporting our campaigns on the Change.org platform alongside our made-over website UIC has reached an inflection point.
‘The situation in Australia in respect of this medicine is horrendous and so we need to re-double our efforts.
‘For that reason we’re taking this opportunity to put down in black and white exactly what we think and believe and were our priorities lie. We’ve described our areas of work for the future, our thoughts on home grown or self-supplied cannabis, what we believe is wrong with the present system and some ideas about how this can be remedied.
‘We’re hoping that all stakeholders within the cannabis debate should, wherever possible, collaborate and work co-cooperatively – all of us should want immediate and genuine legal access to this medicine for all those who need it which must be a common priority for everyone. And we’re asking the questions – does your organisation support such an objective and does its actual behaviour help bring this about?
‘If the answer to either of those two questions is ‘no’ we then need seriously to wonder whether such outfits can honestly claim to have the best interests of patients at heart.’
And where Australia’s new cannabis industry is concerned Lucy is quite unequivocal.
‘With the relatively tiny number of approvals for cannabis medicines compared to those using illicit products in Australia exports are going to be these companies’ lifeline – but how they’ll compete on a global stage is unknown, untested, uncertain. Put that together with the farcical state of affairs at the Federal Government level with licensing applications and you get a perfect storm.
‘In addition to this, the Achilles’ heel of the industry as a whole is that it’s subject to legislation and regulation that can literally change in a heartbeat. Unless these companies work closely with patients and advocates and – as far as it’s humanly possibly – try to speak and lobby with one voice I think many will go to the wall. Industry asking for one thing and advocates for something else will mean the two will cancel each other out so it’s crucial we all work together. That’s why we’re being as explicit as we possible can about what we’re doing and what our positions are.’
The new content on the website is as follows: