Dr Alex Wodak AM, a physician, is President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation. Together with colleagues he helped establish Australia’s first needle syringe programme and Australia’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre when both were pre-legal.
He also helped establish the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), the Australian Society of HIV Medicine (ASHM) and the NSW Users AIDS Association (NUAA).
He has been advocating for medicinal cannabis for some years. Dr Wodak and colleagues at UNSW Law School are writing a Discussion Paper on the taxation and regulation of recreational cannabis.
“Medicinal cannabis is neither a panacea for all ills nor the end of civilisation as we know it. Medicinal cannabis is a useful drug for some people with distressing symptoms unrelieved by conventional medicines in a range or terminal and serious conditions. Regulated medicinal cannabis should be effective, safe, affordable and available promptly and easily for patients meeting agreed criteria including compassionate access for some. Slow and restrictive availability will ensure that many patients will easily obtain black market medicinal cannabis of unknown effectiveness and safety at high prices.”