NSW Labor Tables Medicinal Cannabis Legislation

NSW Labor - medical marijuana
Image: Luke Foley/ALP via Twitter

The terminally ill and those suffering serious medical conditions will not be prosecuted for possessing medicinal marijuana if NSW Labor has their way.

Legislation is being introduced to NSW Parliament by Opposition Leader Luke Foley, who wants to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis if it is being used in the treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions.

The list of qualifying conditions.

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • motor neurone disease
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • stiff person syndrome
  • chemotherapy related severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting
  • pain associated with cancer
  • neuropathic pain

The legislation will also allow for an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.

“By passing this legislation NSW Parliament will be removing an unnecessary hurdle for sufferers of terminal and chronic illnesses,” said Mr. Foley.

“Seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness should not be a criminal offence. If someone’s pain and suffering can be relieved by medicinal cannabis, then I am in favour of its use to that end.”

The amount of medicinal cannabis patients will be able to possess is up to 15 grams.

Labor’s legislation has adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry; which won unanimous support from NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. The report, “The use of cannabis for medical purposes” (PDF), was published nearly 4 years ago.

Mr. Foley’s support of cannabis isn’t a new development. He has been calling for urgent law changes to legalise cannabis for terminally ill people in New South Wales for years and seems to be well versed on the issue.

Passing of this legislation would be another step forward, but patients still need to source the cannabis; leaving them susceptible to receiving poor quality products with potentially inconsistent levels of beneficial cannabinoids.

Labor is also pushing for increased access to cannabis at a national level. As we reported yesterday, ALP leader Bill Shorten has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging the Federal Government to seek an overseas supplier of medical cannabis products until local supplies are available.