The NSW Greens have called for the legalisation of medical cannabis, while NSW Police have raided the only producer of a cannabis-derived health product in Australia.
Greens MLC David Shoebridge made the call at a recent rally in Martin Place.
“If a doctor believes that the prescription of cannabis is the best, sometimes even the only, way of dealing with your chronic pain, why do we prohibit that and make it unlawful here in NSW?”
Greens MLC John Kaye told the Star Observer he would move a motion during Parliament’s spring sitting which would outline a plan for a one-year medical marijuana trial under which GPs and treating specialists would be able to prescribe medical cannabis to people with relevant conditions, including HIV, with the approval of the Health Department.
Medical cannabis has been shown to help reduce nausea, pain, appetite loss and wasting associated with HIV.
The trial would be monitored by a panel of health experts who would report at its conclusion.
“We are convinced that there is enough evidence now that says there are people who would massively benefit from the availability of medicinal cannabis,” Kaye said.
“The only thing that really stands between them and the relief from symptoms of suffering, and in some cases improved health, is the irrational connections that politicians make between medicinal cannabis and the recreational use of marijuana.”
In related news, Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd was raided in March as part of the NSW Police’s 2011/2012 Cannabis Eradication Program despite its operating with the knowledge of state and federal departments for more than three years.
Police seized and destroyed cannabis plants that were to be made into a tincture of cannabis which Mullaways was supplying free of charge to more than 300 people with conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV.
All recipients had doctors’ letters advising them to take the tincture.
Mullaways has since resumed manufacturing the tincture.
“I haven’t stopped,” Mullaways director Tony Bower told the Star Observer. “These people are sick and I’m here to get those people the medicine they need.”
Synthetic pharmaceuticals that contain the same active ingredients as cannabis can be legally imported by people with a recommendation from their doctor through the Commonwealth’s Special Access Scheme.
However, those drugs are prohibitively expensive for many as they are not subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.