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28 Fiona Patten

Fiona Patten

Fiona is the leader of the Reason Party and was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 2014 to 2022, representing the Northern Metropolitan Region. Before entering politics, she championed sexual rights and health for more than 20 years, particularly on HIV/AIDS, after initially starting out as a small business owner with her own fashion label.

During her time as an MP, Fiona played a pivotal role in achieving social reforms in Victoria, with examples including the passage of the state's assisted dying legislation, and the trial of a medically supervised drug-injecting room in Richmond.

Fiona has been pivotal in supporting badly needed changes to drug laws generally and for medicinal cannabis in particular.

In February 2022, she introduced a bill to the Victorian upper house to decriminalise all drugs. Under the proposals, police would issue a compulsory notice and referral for drug education or treatment to people found to have used or possessed an illicit drug. Those complying with the notice would not be found guilty or receive a criminal record.

With regard to medicinal cannabis, Fiona was a tireless advocate for patients while in the Victorian parliament. She advocated for patients denied access through Worksafe and TAC, but probably most importantly, she introduced a number of amendment bills to address the discriminatory driving laws that prohibit medicinal cannabis patients from driving.

These bills led to the establishment of an expert working group and recently she worked with Victoria’s Legalise Cannabis MPs to reintroduce her Road Safety (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which was met with strong media interest and very positive remarks from Premier Daniel Andrews.

She also initiated (and chaired) a comprehensive inquiry into the use of cannabis in Victoria which made a number of recommendations to assist patients.

Fiona would like to continue to advocate and contribute to the campaign to reduce the stigma around medicinal cannabis while improving access and understanding of this medicine and the people it helps. She is interim deputy chair of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association (AMCA).

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