Shane Reti’s Bill is both inspired and deficient in equal measure, and yet it is the most comprehensive piece of legislation we have seen on the issue. …
At the “front end” the execution is almost flawless, the prescribing regime and dispensing system is a step beyond what was thought possible for a National party to support, as card access is more liberal than the prescribed product route. Dr Reti and those who worked with him can be commended for getting that across the line in the National Caucus.
The prescribing is a master-stroke, and from the outset he has properly engaged with prescribers and the Pharmacy Guild. It shows a level of leadership on this issue far in advance of the Health Minister, who appears to have been asleep at the wheel in comparison.
Reti has done what the Government seems incapable of doing – consultation and writing a decent bill. The quality of Labour’s bills in opposition was piss poor and in Government not much better.
The “back end”, however, needs more work and consultation with industry. Some of the requirements would provide significant barriers to both of the main companies vying for this nascent industry.
Helius is located in an industrial site well inside the five kilometre distance prohibited between residential areas and cannabis facilities. This is not an issue in other jurisdictions if sufficient checks are in place.
The five km proposed rule may be too restrictive.
What is most disheartening for patients, however, is that in trying to obtain consensus the party has dropped any form of compassionate clause in the short term to provide patients with protection from the police, which is sorely needed.
National is pretty firm on they don’t want this to be a back door to de facto legalisation. However there is a referendum coming up on that issue, so we may get some good change through the referendum.