Cannabis guideline review not enough -- Helen Kelly

Cannabis guideline review not enough -- Helen Kelly

Access to medical cannabis could be made easier, with Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today asking for a review of the guidelines around applications for its use.

But advocate Helen Kelly says the guidelines need a complete overhaul.

Ms Kelly isn't sure if she'll make another attempt to get medical cannabis legally; her doctor withdrew her application and they say it's simply too hard.

"The system doesn't work and fiddling, as the minister is proposing, won't fix it," she says.

Mr Dunne has today asked Ministry of Health officials to review the guidelines for medical cannabis applications, but Ms Kelly says reviewing the guidelines doesn't go far enough.

"It needs an overhaul, and we need to follow what other countries are doing. I've been waiting for weeks and weeks, saying the system doesn't work."

But Mr Dunne says he's confident reviewing the guidelines will make them more easily adapted to individual cases.

"Everyone's situation is different, they've got different conditions, so there needs to be some flexibility within them to cover those different situations," he says.

The guidelines were set up after the successful request to give cannabis oil to teenager Alex Renton in May 2015.

They also applied to Ms Kelly's application, but that was withdrawn by her oncologist before any decision was made.

"I don't want to get into a position where you're reacting to particular cases all the time, I think that's really the wrong way to go about it," Mr Dunne says. "I want to have something that's reasonably generic."

Mr Dunne says he's not ruling out seeking external input into the review process and will be looking at overseas trends.

He'll meet with Federal Ministers in Canberra next week to discuss the issue.

As for Ms Kelly, she says she'll keep fighting to help those who need it get easier access to medical cannabis.