The Greens NSW yesterday launched their Bill to protect certified medical users of cannabis from criminal prosecution.
The Drug Legislation Amendment (Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes) Bill 2014 implements the unanimous findings of last year’s cross-party Upper House inquiry into medical uses of cannabis. It would allow people with a terminal illness to apply, on the recommendation of their treating doctor to the NSW Department of Health, for a card that would exempt them and their carers from prosecution for possession of 15 grams or less of crude cannabis.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said, ‘It is time for policy driven by compassion and science, not hysteria and prejudice.
‘People who are dying should not have to also face the fear of prosecution for using a drug that relieves some of their pain and suffering.
‘Last year’s cross-party Upper House inquiry responded to the evidence with a proposal that was cautious and limited.
‘It carefully avoids any possibility of feeding the recreational market or creating new supplies of the drug.
‘Instead it focuses on ensuring that those cancer patients and others who are facing a terminal illness can find relief for their symptoms without fear of a court appearance of time in jail.
‘The tide is turning on medicinal cannabis.
‘Senior police, health experts and MPs from five of the six parties represented in the NSW parliament are calling for humanitarian reform.
‘More than a dozen countries and 20 states in the USA have legalised medicinal cannabis.
‘The community of Tamworth, largely seen as a conservative rural town, has turned out in support of cancer patient Dan Haslam and the campaign for law reform.
‘Respected current and former police have made their position clear. The terminally ill should be allowed to possess small quantities of crude cannabis to relieve their pain and suffering without the fear of criminal prosecution.
‘Even federal agriculture minister and New England MP Barnaby Joyce has had a change of heart and is now much more open to the idea of medicinal cannabis.
‘It is not too late for the Baird government to take up leadership on this issue.’
For a copy of the bill see http://johnkaye.org.au/campaigns/support-the-greens-bill-to-legalise-medicinal-cannabis/