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Terminally Ill Patients Could Have Medical Cannabis ‘Within Hours’

The Greens championed the move

Terminally Ill Patients Could Have Medical Cannabis ‘Within Hours’

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Terminally-ill patients waiting months for medicinal cannabis could instead access the drug in mere hours after a backflip by crossbench senators.

The Greens have successfully scrapped rules which made it harder for dying patients to access medical cannabis after a failed attempt in May.

It means terminally-ill patients will get quicker, easier access to medicinal cannabis, prescribed by a doctor, by reopening a pathway to the drug closed by the government last year.

Health Minister Greg Hunt slammed the move as reckless and irresponsible, saying it will remove protections against unsafe medicinal cannabis that could be diverted for criminal use.

The move was in defiance of advice from the medicines regulator.

"The Therapeutic Goods Administration could not be clearer that it is a potential risk, not just to health, but to lives," Mr Hunt told reporters.

"There is already a safe, legal way to access medicinal cannabis in Australia - 133 patients have been prescribed that."

Greens leader Richard Di Natale labelled the government's complaints "utter nonsense".

"What this change does is ... if you've got a terminal illness you can go and see a GP and if the drug is not available here in Australia, they can order it for you and you can source it from other regulated markets," he said.

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said it was a win for dying Australians.

"We now hope the government gets on with the job of implementing a national scheme and stop scaremongering and stigmatising the people who are trying to access medicinal cannabis," she said.