18th October 2023 09:45
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan) (09:45): 
It was disappointing to read in the media recently the nonsense spouted by Michael Vagg and Rachelle Buchbinder in relation to medicinal cannabis, a lawful prescription medication. For them to equate the uptake of medicinal cannabis with the opioid epidemic is disingenuous and an intentional departure from the truth. Opioids can and do kill people – 764 people to be exact in 2021. Cannabinoids do not – in 2021, zero deaths. No single person is fatally overdosing on medicinal cannabis. Indeed a 2020 study by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre confirms that no deaths have ever been identified as being caused by direct cannabis toxicity. We are seeing evidence of the efficacy of medicinal cannabis for the management of pain in multiple epidemiological studies. Thousands of people across our society have found relief in taking medicinal cannabis when all other treatments have failed. To quote the eminent Professor Iain McGregor, director of the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney:

Sensory measures of pain may not change that much with cannabis. But what does seem to change is people’s ability to get on with and enjoy their lives. And that’s fantastically useful.

Speaking from direct experience, I agree. It is a fantastically useful medicine, and for that reason Legalise Cannabis Victoria will never stop advocating for greater access.


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