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Tasmanian Labor calls for more action on medicinal cannabis use

The state Opposition says that sick Tasmanians wanting to take part in an interstate medicinal cannabis trial have been left languishing through government inaction.

Opposition justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings has accused the government of being too slow to act on allowing sick Tasmanians to access medicinal cannabis. But the government says that some people did not wish to take part in the trial in the first place, and its own scheme – which will allow patients to get unregistered medical cannabis products under prescription – will be open this year. Labor justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings said that the government promised more than 12 months ago that people from Tasmanian would be able to take part in the New South Wales trial when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the state governments. She said that no Tasmanians joined the clinical trials. Ms Giddings said the long wait for sick people to legitimately access medicinal cannabis had meant many were forced to turn to black market drugs. “There are Tasmanian families with seriously sick kids who need the hope that medicinal cannabis can offer them,” Ms Giddings said. “It’s heartbreaking for those patients out there who want to do the right thing by the law and access it legally and safely.” Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the government would open its Controlled Access Scheme will be open this year. He said there were Tasmanians who had not wanted to participate in the New South Wales trial as they did not wish to receive a placebo. “Our scheme will allow them to be prescribed medicinal cannabis products by a specialist doctor under certain conditions, including peer review,” Mr Ferguson said. “It is important to note Labor was in government for 16 years during which time Ms Giddings was both Health Minister and Premier and did absolutely nothing.” The memorandum of understanding signed between Tasmania and New South Wales in December 2015 opened the door for both governments to work together on clinical trials, research, and cultivation of cannabis. Under the Tasmanian scheme, people with prescriptions for medical cannabis will still not be permitted to grow it.

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