Campaigners fighting for subsidised access to medicinal cannabis for military veterans with PTSD will use the upcoming Royal Commission into defence and veteran suicide to further promote the group’s cause as its petition on change.org topped 15,000 signatories.

Last week, veteran Derek Pyrah, his GP Dr Matty Moore and United in Compassion founder Lucy Haslam met with shadow minister for veterans’ affairs Shayne Neumann who recommended using the commission to push for a change in policy.

Military veteran and campaigner Derek Pyrah

Pyrah said: “The thought of standing up at the Royal Commission to tell my story is a little nerve wracking, but they need to hear how PTSD is impacting veterans and their families.” 

He added: “I will say this: we don’t need to wait for the Royal Commission to fix medicinal cannabis access for veterans, the DVA could fix this today with a simple policy change [and] give veterans more choice in how they treat and manage their PTSD condition. A change today would likely save a veteran’s life tomorrow.”

Pyrah is pushing for a meeting with minister for veterans’ affairs Andrew Gee. He said Gee’s office has acknowledged the petition, but claimed the minister didn’t have time for a meeting.