2 August 2023, 12:26
Legislative Council of Victoria, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

My question is for the Attorney-General. Fitzroy Legal Service has published a report on the 420 cannabis event held in Flagstaff Gardens earlier this year that details multiple accounts of police searching medicinal cannabis prescription holders even after they had produced their prescriptions and identification. In at least one instance a medicinal cannabis patient so identified was handcuffed and arrested.

The report states that upon production of the legal prescription, a police officer cannot reasonably suspect possession of an illicit substance and search. To do so is unlawful, discriminatory and a contravention of the prescription holder’s human rights.

This is yet another example of the discrimination experienced by medicinal cannabis patients. So my question to the Attorney-General is: what legislative changes are you contemplating to protect medicinal cannabis patients from discrimination in Victoria?

The Hon Jaclyn SYMES (Attorney-General):

I thank Mr Ettershank for his rundown of an issue from the experience of and reports from Fitzroy Legal Service. It is a little difficult for me to comment on the specifics of the matters that you raise without having further consultation with people in relation to suggestions that have been made. I am on the record many times saying that legal reform is a constant in my life. There is never a full stop on things that we can look at. So I am always open to having conversations with people about ways that we can make the justice system more responsive to the needs of Victorians, whether they be people that feel they are unfairly feeling the brunt of laws or those victims that feel the opposite. It is always a balancing act in relation to specific laws in relation to medicinal cannabis. It is not on the top of my agenda in my office, but we know that you have as a party suggested numerous things for governments to consider, and we are very happy to have ongoing conversations with you in relation to that. A lot of the matters that you have raised do tend to lean into a bit of operational matters for police and so would not be as simple as a potential law change from the facts as you have outlined, but I am more than happy to have further conversations with you.

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

I thank the Attorney-General for her response, and I look forward to those conversations. I have no supplementary question.


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