NSW LABOR TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO DECRIMINALISE CANNABIS POSSESSION FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL

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Sufferers of terminal and serious medical conditions who rely on medicinal cannabis to ease their pain will no longer be treated as criminals under legislation being introduced to NSW Parliament by Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

NSW Labor’s legislation will seek to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis (up to 15 grams) for treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions for medically certified sufferers and their carers.

This list below details illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions.

Illnesses or conditions that are likely to result in death or a significant reduction in an individual’s quality of life would also be considered under the legislation.

Under the proposed legislation the terminally and chronically ill and their carers will be required to receive photo identification and medical certification from NSW Health in order to possess medicinal cannabis.

Currently people who purchase cannabis to alleviate the pain and distress associated with chronic and terminal illnesses face strict criminal penalties under the Crimes Act (1900).

Labor’s legislation has adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The recommendations have received unanimous support from five political parties including NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

The report and its recommendations can be read here.

NSW Labor is urging the Berejiklian Government to vote in favour of its legislation to expedite the treatment and alleviate their pain of sufferers in NSW.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“This is about restoring dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction.

“By passing this legislation NSW Parliament will be removing an unnecessary hurdle for sufferers of terminal and chronic illnesses.

“Seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness should not be a criminal offence. It should be met with sympathy and support.

“If someone’s pain and suffering can be relieved by medicinal cannabis then I am in favour of its use to that end.”

BACKGROUND
Illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
  • (c) motor neurone disease;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • the neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome;
  • severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy; or
  • pain associated with cancer; or
  • neuropathic pain; or
  • an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.