In the first of a three-part series, Cannabiz chief correspondent Steve Jones reports on the hurdles the industry still needs to jump to persuade politicians and physicians of its multi-million dollar, life-changing potential.
In late March, just a few days after Covid-19 began robbing us of our personal liberties and turning societal norms upside down, a hefty report landed in Canberra at the federal department of health.
It was desperately unfortunate timing.
With health minister Greg Hunt, his department, and pretty much everyone else in Government preoccupied with the pandemic, the report was largely forgotten, buried, in all probability, among a mountainous pile of papers in the non-urgent tray.
And there it has stayed, perhaps unsurprisingly given the wretched circumstances of this extraordinary year.
The report in question will be familiar to the medicinal cannabis industry and campaigners, if not the wider public. It contained the findings of the Senate inquiry into the accessibility of medicinal cannabis, conducted by the Community Affairs References Committee.
Ironically, as Covid-19 encroached on our lifestyles and restricted our choices, the 102-page report effectively called for greater freedoms in how we live our lives, and on the choices we make concerning our health.
After poring over 146 written submissions and listening to testimonies at a public hearing, the committee drew up 20 recommendations it believed would create a more open and equitable system around medicinal cannabis.