The Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland are moving ahead in their efforts to make cannabis a mainstream form of medicine.
In Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government has inked a deal that will see UK-based pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals run a new research program for cannabis-based medicines for children with forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Parents of Queensland kids with severe drug-resistant epilepsy can now register their interest in taking part trials.
“We have listened to Queensland families who are suffering and we are answering their calls to investigate this form of treatment,” said Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Cameron Dick.
“This treatment has the potential to change lives.”
The Queensland Government has committed a total of $6 million over a period of three years for trials and the establishment of a specialist centre.
Queensland apparently decided to stage its own medical cannabis trials after negotiations regarding a joint program with New South Wales failed.
And while on that note; across the border in New South Wales, the State Government announced early this week the Australia Federal Government had provided the state’s Department of Primary Industries the green light for an initial medical marijuana cultivation program.
“This is an important step forward that underpins the potential pharmaceutical supply of cannabis-based medicines made in Australia,” said NSW Minister Primary Industries Niall Blair.
“This cultivation research will build the additional evidence required to produce medicinal cannabis in NSW to guaranteed safety and quality standards”.
The State Government is stumping up a significant chunk of change for the pilot program – $21 million. It appears the initiative is in relation to New South Wales’ Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme (TICS).
TICS does not provide medical marijuana at this point in time, but guidelines for police officers in using their discretion in deciding not to charge the terminally ill who have cannabis in their possession, or the carers assisting them.
The Government began scouting for suitable marijuana cropping land in October last year.
Earlier this month, the State Government also announced some children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy may be able access a cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine very soon. There’s no prizes for guessing which medication – Epidiolex.