Pubdate: Wed, 01 Apr 2015
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: James Robertson


Lucy Haslam, the mother of the late-medical marijuana campaigner, 
Dan, has criticised the state government for moving too slowly to 
provide access to the drug to the ill.

Ms Haslam, whose son died in February, five years after being 
diagnosed with cancer, testified before a federal Senate inquiry held 
at the NSW parliament on Tuesday.

"We cannot afford to wait for the results of clinical trials," Ms 
Haslam said. "Don't dismiss the urgent need of people now.

"If someone with a terminal illness says that their pain is less [. . 
.] what are we worried about?

"The long-term side effects of using medicinal cannabis are 
completely irrelevant to that person."

The inquiry was held to discuss a federal bill, sponsored by Greens 
senator Richard Di Natale, and with support from major party MPs, 
that would have the federal government licence businesses to grow and 
import medical marijuana.

The process would be overseen by the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, an 
independent regulator that would determine the conditions for which 
doctors could prescribe the drug.

Mr Baird credited meeting Mr Haslam with changing his view on medical 
cannabis, which led to the government announcing a clinical trial.

"Mike Baird knows I'm not very positive about how things are going," 
Ms Haslam later told Fairfax. "Things are not going as well as he thinks.

"I think [sufferers] need to have access to a [medicinal marijuana] 
supply. We're looking at years down the track [with the current 
clinical trial]."

Ms Haslam said the Premier had agreed to meet her to discuss the 
issue and praised him for showing "initiative".

NSW trials, for childhood sufferers of intractable epilepsy, 
chemotherapy-related nausea are currently being planned and if 
successful, could lead to legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.

Paediatric epilepsy patients will be first enrolled in 2016.

Senator Di Natale said he hoped the federal bill would be introduced 
to Parliament by the middle of the year.
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