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Old 03-11-2013, 08:43 AM
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Default Medical groups push to make marijuana legal in Australia

Medical groups push to make marijuana legal
Sydney Morning Herald
March 10, 2013
Sarah-Jane Collins

Relief: Tony Bower produces medical cannabis tincture. Photo: Melissa McDonald

Doctors, medical researchers and cancer advocacy groups want the state government to legalise the use of medical marijuana, saying it is an effective treatment for pain including the side effects of chemotherapy.
In submissions to a NSW upper house inquiry into the issue, the Australian Medical Association, the Cancer Council NSW and the Australian Drug Foundation have all supported the use of medical marijuana in certain circumstances.
The inquiry will conduct its first hearings this week.

Bottles of medical cannabis tincture. Photo: Melissa McDonald

Cancer Voices, a cancer patient advocacy group, is pushing for change. ''It is time for a sensible debate about this,'' Cancer Voices NSW chairwoman Sally Crossing said. ''This is not a political or religious issue; it is about being kind to people in a difficult situation, who are in a lot of pain and discomfort.''
Tony Bower, also presenting to the inquiry on Monday, makes therapeutic cannabis tincture - a medicine derived from marijuana - on his property in Kempsey, north of Port Macquarie.
He started out more than a decade ago supplying cannabis to go into hash cookies to a ''comfort group'' in Nimbin. ''A lot of elders like the cookies because it gets rid of the pain but it gives them the giggles and they don't like that,'' he said.
''So I buggered around with things and learnt what I could until I got something that was easier for people to use and was non-psychoactive.''
He now supplies to hundreds of people around Australia, most referred by their doctors.
''It's a legal medicine, it's just the growing that's a problem,'' he said.
''The law needs to change … It's going to sick people who need it.''
More than 100 submissions were made to the inquiry, including from people who already use marijuana for medical reasons.
One 88-year-old woman who did not want to be named told Fairfax Media she had begun using Mr Bower's tincture when she developed chronic pain due to a condition called polymyositis. Just a few drops provided almost instant relief, and reduced her reliance on morphine, which made her drowsy and lethargic.
''I thought there's got to be a better way than this … so I tried the drops and I found they satisfied my pain problem and they didn't make me dopey. I never had an out-of-body experience the whole time, all they did was ease my pain,'' said the woman, who lives in a nursing home.
''I had the consent of both my GP and my specialist rheumatologist.''
In its submission, the AMA said that medical marijuana was an effective treatment for cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, but more research was needed to determine its effectiveness for other conditions such as multiple sclerosis and for chronic pain.
The Australian Drug Foundation is less conservative in its recommendation, calling for it to be made available for people ''suffering intense pain or severe disability as a result of life limiting or debilitating diseases, illnesses or ailments, under strict conditions''.
On Monday, the inquiry will hear from the NSW health and justice departments and the police. It reports to Parliament in May.
Ref:Medical groups push to make marijuana legal
PARLIAMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES

Use of cannabis for medical purposes (Inquiry)

This inquiry is a current Legislative Council inquiry conducted by the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 4. This Inquiry was established by the Legislative Council on Thursday 22 November 2012 to inquire and report on the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The Inquiry will examine the efficacy and safety of using cannabis for medical purposes; if and how cannabis should be supplied for medical use; the legal implications and issues concerning the use of cannabis for medical purposes and any other related matters. The Inquiry will examine a range of modes by which the chemical properties of cannabis may be accessed for therapeutic purposes, from smoking of the plant to the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products consumed in nasal sprays, tablet or other forms.
Ref:Use of cannabis for medical purposes (Inquiry) - NSW Parliament
Public Hearing 11/03/2013 - Use of cannabis for medical purposes

Date
Monday 11 March 2013, 09:30 to 17:30
Venue
Jubilee Room
New South Wales Parliament, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Contact
Ms Madeleine Foley, Director
Phone (02) 9230 3586
gpscno4@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Transcript
There is no transcript available
Context
Use of cannabis for medical purposes Inquiry, General Purpose Standing Committee No. 4
See the Inquiry for reports and submissions related to this hearing.

Agenda

To download the agenda click on the document icon(s) below.
Hearing Schedule PUBLIC - Use of cannabis for medical purposes - 11 March 2013.PDF
Ref:Public Hearing 11/03/2013 - Use of cannabis for medical purposes - NSW Parliament
Submissions to Use of cannabis for medical purposes.

These submissions are published by the Committee under the powers given to it under the Standing Orders, the resolutions establishing the Committee and the Parliamentary Papers (Supplementary Provisions) Act 1975.
This material is subject to parliamentary privilege which may restrict the way the submissions can be used. If further information is required on the use which can be made of these submissions the advice of the Clerk of the Parliaments should be sought.
While submissions are subject to absolute privilege, any re-publication may not be. It is recommended that the advice of the Committee Director be sought should clarification be required.
The submissions listed below have been made public by resolution of the Committee. Please note this may not be the full list of submissions.
For information on submissions, contact the Secretariat (contacts are listed on the Committee's homepage).
Ref:Submissions
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