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Hogan backs medicinal cannabis

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan backed the introduction of the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 in parliament on Tuesday February 23.
Mr Hogan said he understood that “some in our community may find this bill controversial, but this bill is about … giving our doctors and our medical professionals a range of options when prescribing pain relief for their patients who for various reasons cannot take pharmaceutical drugs”.
“This bill is not about legalising recreational drugs, nor is it the thin edge of the wedge on that issue,” he said.
He spoke about two of his friends who have, for palliative care reasons, used “an oil that they put on their necks”.
“The medicinal cannabis has worked for them … and has proven to be very valuable for their pain relief,” he said.
“There is growing community expectation that some patients such as those with MS or terminal cancer or children with forms of epilepsy have a ready source of medicinal cannabis products that their doctor can prescribe.”
He did, however, confess that one his friends had accessed the oil “illegally”.
“There are many reports that patients and carers of patients are breaking the law by obtaining these products from illegal markets,” he said.
“… This obviously exposes patients, who are challenged with their health and doing this for palliative care, to health risks and, in many cases, their carers or themselves to criminal prosecution.
“…If there is regulation as we are doing, it would always be by a doctor, it will be supervised as such and the product will be regulated.
“…In a 2013 survey 75 per cent of people supported a clinical trial of cannabis to treat medical conditions and 69 per cent would support a change to the legislation to permit the use of it.”
He pointed out that “there is no mechanism to allow the cultivation of a safe, legal and sustainable local supply of the raw material” in Australia.
“This has meant that Australian patients, researchers and manufacturers have had to access international suppliers of legal medicinal cannabis crops,” he said. “…Permitting this for medicinal purposes will address the sourcing problem where supply has been provided for under the Therapeutic Goods Act.”
Mr Hogan, however, said that “the primary obligation is to prevent cannabis cultivated for medicinal purposes being diverted to illicit users”.
“So this will be tightly administered, because obviously we do not want this product to start to be cultivated and produced in this country legally then diverted to illicit users,” he said.
Speaking to the bill on the floor, he said that the amendments would “ensure that, when cultivation, production and manufacture of cannabis for medicinal purpose begin, Australia will remain compliant with its international treaty obligations as defined in the single convention”.
“…The bill, importantly, does not override any state or territory legislation dealing with criminal activities associated with the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis that occurs outside the regulatory scheme it establishes.
“The bill provides two types of cultivation licences: one that allows for the cultivation of cannabis plants for the production of cannabis for medicinal purposes; the other to authorise cultivation for research purposes related to medicinal cannabis.”