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Clinical trial paves way for legalised medical cannabis

THE medicinal use of cannabis by terminally ill adults could be legalised if a new clinical trial by the NSW Government is successful.

Premier Mike Baird announced this week a working group would report back with the results of the trial by the end of 2014, as well as expert advice in finding the safest ways of making medical cannabis available to terminally ill patients.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said he was excited to see a "crack" in the government's anti-cannabis wall.

"I absolutely think that this is change, real change, we've talked about for 40 years here," he said.

"Nearly every state in Australia's got something happening now so there's clearly momentum."

Mr Balderstone said the government should consider drawing on existing knowledge of cannabis to create employment in local communities.

Should terminally ill people be allowed to use cannabis for medical purposes?

This poll ended on 23 September 2014.

Current Results

Yes

15%

Yes, but it should be available for other medical uses too

35%

Yes, anyone should be able to use it

47%

No

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"There's a real opportunity for the government to legally employ thousands of people in this industry with the stroke of a pen," Mr Balderstone said.

The NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association has backed the State Government trial.

"Of all the methods that were on the cards to allow terminally ill patients to access cannabis, medical trials were always the best option," NSW AMA president Dr Saxon Smith said.

"This will give people safe access to a potential new treatment and at the same time remove any stigma of criminality from their use of cannabis."

New guidelines will enable police officers to use their discretion not to charge terminally ill adults who use cannabis to alleviate their symptoms, or their carers.

But the NSW Greens say the police guidelines don't go far enough to provide exemption from prosecution for terminally ill patients.

"By failing to provide a complete exemption from prosecution, the NSW Coalition has left the terminally ill with the same awful choices that they currently face," Greens MLC John Kaye said.

"They still have to break the law and hope that the police will take mercy on them."

Topics:  cannabis health medical cannabis



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