NSW Labor pushes for decriminalisation of medical cannabis
A Riverina advocate has thrown her support behind ‘the best bill yet’ pushing for the decriminalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.
The proposed bill, presented by opposition leader Luke Foley, reached its second reading in parliament on Wednesday.
The bill allows whole plant medicine, home grow options and permits patients to lawfully travel with up to 15 grams of cannabis in either tincture or oil form for treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions.
Cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam, whose late son Daniel started using the illegal drug in his fight against cancer, said the bill was a big step on a long journey ahead.
“The government has underestimated the amount of desperation and sense of abandonment surrounding the issue,” Ms Haslam said.
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“If he was alive, Daniel would still be considered a criminal.”
Ms Haslam is concerned the bill only allowed for consumption in a private residence and was critical of the specified quantity.
“Medical cannabis should be treated like any other medicine and be able to be used anywhere,” Ms Haslam said.
“If someone is having a seizure they need to take it quickly – not when it’s convenient.”
Ms Haslam said the demand for medical cannabis continues to grow, as does the political debate surrounding it.
“If I had a child using it I wouldn’t be stopping,” she said.
“I get contacted every single day with people who are desperate to try it.
“I think one day we will wonder why the hell we weren’t legally using it for years.”
Narrandera herbalist and medical marijuana advocate Rach Cregan said the bill is a positive step forward and ticks a number of boxes for NSW patients.
“This is the first bill giving patients choice and a lot of high profile patients are behind it,” Ms Cregan said.
“It removes medical cannabis off the black market and takes the fear out of it all.”
While the bill gets the green light from Ms Cregan, she said the proposal falls short regarding impaired driving.
“If a patient takes cannabis at night time and is driving 12 hours later, which is the recommended time, they could still be charged with driving under the influence,” Ms Cregan said.
Ms Cregan said she hopes the brave NSW move will encourage other states to get behind the cause.