A cannabis worker in Washington cups a handful of trimmed marijuana buds.

Sarah Climaco

Terminally Ill Australian Woman Denied MMJ Access by Specialists

An Australian woman with only a week or two left to live has been denied access to medicinal cannabis by her specialist doctors despite the federal framework that should allow terminally ill patients to access the program, the Daily Telegraph reports.

New South Wales resident Katherine Lorraine, 51, said she has been trying to obtain the plant for six months but her doctors at The Mater Hospital have repeatedly blocked her requests, despite approval from her general practitioner.

“I haven’t been able to get access, I’ve been trying for six months and if it has been legalized, I should be able to get it,” she said in the report. “I’m dying, I want something to improve my quality of life.”

The framework for the program was set up by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation (CMCRI) for NSW Health last August. Under the rules, physicians can “seek approval to prescribe certain cannabis-based products that are not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, in appropriate circumstances.”

A CMCRI representative confirmed that the rules require specialists in the condition — oncologists in this case — being treated to sign off on medical cannabis use, which also requires approval from NSW Health and the Therapeutic Goods Association.

Pharmacist Nick Bakarich, who has been advocating on Lorraine’s behalf, said that the health department “needs to acknowledge the pathway in place is wrong.” Bakarich advocated for a previous patient, but he too was denied access and has since died.

“Doctors have the right to decline to prescribe an unapproved product if they believe there is either insufficient clinical justification or no evidence to support the use of the product,” the CMCRI spokeswoman said.

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