Cannabis legalisation Australia: NSW government may be extending medical marijuana access to even non-terminal patients

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Cannabis
Droplets of oil form on the surface of a Cannabis plant in a state-owned agricultural farm in Rovigo, about 60 km (40 miles) from Venice, September 22, 2014. Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

NSW Premier Mike Baird opened the Medicinal Cannabis Symposium in Western Sydney and gave an opening address on Saturday. The symposium was run by United in Compassion, a company run by Daniel Haslem's mother, Lucy Haslem. Daniel Haslem died of terminal cancer. He campaigned extensively for cannabis legalisation till his death.

Baird addressed a gathering of medical marijuana experts at the symposium where he promised that the NSW government was moving as fast as possible with the trials to make medical cannabis available in the state.

Trials are being conducted on severe epilepsy sufferers, especially children, chemotherapy-induced pain sufferers and those with terminal illnesses. Baird revealed that the government was also looking at extending the benefits of medical marijuana to non-terminal patients. However, some audience members expressed disappointment with the pace of progress for the “lifesaving” drug.

“I know that some won't agree with that but I can assure you with everything I have, and every resource in government, we are doing everything we can to move as quickly as we can,” Baird said at the symposium.

Baird revealed that the government was busy reviewing guidelines that underpin the current Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme that allows access to marijuana for adults with a terminal illness. The government’s pledge of $21 million for the medical marijuana trials looks positive, promised Baird.

Till now, most of the cannabis drugs were required to be imported from British and Canadian pharmaceutical companies. However, authorities have applied to the federal Government for a licence to grow marijuana for medical research trials.

Lucy Haslem said that the focus was now on educating doctors about medical marijuana’s benefits. She added that the biggest challenge was to break the misconceptions that people have about cannabis.

“Cannabinoid research is clearly an area where science has not kept up due to a myriad of reasons, predominantly prohibition and the war on drugs,” Lucy added.