Words by Emma Vlatko
NSW looks to be one step closer to legalising medical marijuana. The Government announced on the 16th of September that they will begin clinical trials of the medicinal drug and establish a working group to address issues of supply and distribution.
Under the plan, only those on a register of terminally-ill patients will be able to legally access the drug. Until the changes go through parliament, the Government is also formalising new guidelines for police so that those on the list, in possession of small amounts of cannabis, will not be charged.
The Premier, Mike Baird has called on all parties to get behind the change, stating, “the country has waited too long, this state has waited too long.”
Premier Baird’s sudden support for the change comes after the touching story of terminally ill cancer patient, Daniel Haslam was aired by Alan Jones, an influential 2GB talk back host. Daniel’s mother, Lucy Haslam, who has been illegally acquiring marijuana for her son, says she has been touched by the change in the Premier’s position.
“I think he probably knows as any parent the horrible feeling of watching your child suffer and feeling powerless. He can empathise with that I think.”
Support has also come on a Federal level with the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott stating, “I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates.”
“If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose though and is being administered safely there should be no question of its legality,” the Prime Minister said.
Nationals MP, Kevin Anderson, who had been drafting a private members bill to legalise medicinal marijuana, says he believes that now, with the Premier’s support, change should come more quickly.
“I think that here we are six months on from when we first started to talk about this and we now have a rock solid government position.”