Health ministers back NSW cannabis trial

Dan Haslam, who has used cannabis to ease the effects of his terminal cancer. Photo from his Facebook page.

Dan Haslam, who has used cannabis to ease the effects of his terminal cancer. Photo from his Facebook page.

The Commonwealth has thrown its support behind NSW’s plan to roll out a clinical trial of medicinal cannabis.

After mounting community pressure the NSW government last month announced terminally-ill patients may soon be able to use cannabis free from fear of being charged.

NSW Premier Mike Baird directed a working group to come up with the parameters for a trial of medicinal cannabis and to look at concerns about drug supply and distribution.

Australia’s health ministers at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting last week offered their support to NSW in it’s long-awaited plan for a clinical trial.

Mr Baird on Tuesday welcomed the move.

‘NSW is playing a leadership role but our historic agreement to work collaboratively on this significant issue means we have a far greater chance of success,’ he said in a statement.

‘We look forward to working with the Commonwealth and the other states and territories to develop our understanding of the role medicinal cannabis could play for some seriously ill people.’

Under the NSW measures, police will be allowed to exercise discretion not to charge terminally-ill adults who use cannabis.

Mr Baird’s working group is due to report back by the end of the year on how a trial should be carried out.

It is likely other states and territories will look at the group’s findings for guidance in any other potential trials.

Mr Baird was moved to act after meeting cancer patient Daniel Haslam, who has been using the drug illegally to relieve his suffering.

Mr Haslam’s mother Lucy, a nurse, and his ex-police officer father have been buying cannabis to help their son deal with the side effects of chemotherapy.

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