Although Australia legalized cannabis for medical use in 2016, only 350 patients have been able to obtain it, according to an article by Tacey Rychter in the New York Times. The bureaucrats have constrained the well-meaning physicians:
Dr. Bastian Seidel, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, called the country’s distribution system “fragmented” and “not transparent.”
“We don’t have a consistent, regulatory framework that is either efficient or timely,” he said, “and this is what makes it so frustrating for medical practitioners and for patients who are clearly in need of medical treatment.”
Rychter’s piece focuses on Lindsay Carter, a 19-year-old patient with epilepsy:
To get Mr. Carter a prescription, his mother and doctor filled out multiple applications, included 196 pages of supporting evidence, and obtained the written endorsement of six doctors and specialists. The process took 19 months.
Even once approved, patients may need to wait for small amounts of imported marijuana — another lengthy process often riddled with delays.
Much of Mr. Carter’s supply is donated, but if the family were to pay out of pocket, it would cost 16,000 Australian dollars, or $12,500, a month to get as close to his needed dose as possible. (The right strength is not yet available in Australia.)