ACT News

Cross-border efforts on push for medical marijuana

Greens minister Shane Rattenbury could reconsider his proposed model for the introduction of medical cannabis in the ACT, as a community consultation period on draft legislation comes to an end. 

In July the Territory and Municipal Services Minister introduced a bill into the Legislative Assembly which would allow terminally and chronically ill Canberrans to grow marijuana and use the drug to alleviate pain and symptoms, if they had approval from the ACT Chief Health Officer.

Shane Rattenbury met with NSW legislators on Friday and says community consultation could lead to changes to the ...
Shane Rattenbury met with NSW legislators on Friday and says community consultation could lead to changes to the proposed model for the introduction of medical cannabis Photo: Reuters

Mr Rattenbury met with a cross-party group of NSW legislators on Friday and said the community consultation could lead to changes to the proposed model.  

The meeting with NSW upper house members, including Greens member John Kaye, Nationals Trevor Kahn and Sarah Mitchell and Labor's Helen Westwood, comes before Monday's deadline for responses to the draft legislation. 

Under the current plan, applications would fall into categories of terminal illness with a prognosis of death within a year, chronic or debilitating conditions or serious illness such as cancer, AIDS or HIV, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or epilepsy.

Last month, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the model could prove unworkable for the Chief Health Officer.

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Both the government and opposition are considering their response to the bill, which will also be considered by an Assembly committee before June 2015. 

Mr Rattenbury said Friday's meeting focused on the detail and practicalities of legalising medical marijuana in both NSW and proposed ACT model.  

"That has certainly here in the ACT been a key discussion," he said. "I was keen to hear how NSW, which is a bigger jurisdiction, is thinking through some of those practical issues."

He said the exposure draft process would help inform the territory model.

"I will be reviewing all the comments that I have got in and making some adjustments from there, particularly having had this discussion with my NSW colleagues.

Mr Kaye said successful legislation in NSW and the territory would make medical marijuana a national issue. 

"That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas and to get models which, if they're not the same, are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation." 

The May 2013 NSW report called for people suffering from cancer, AIDS and other terminal illnesses to be certified by specialist doctors for the possession and use of up to 15 grams of dry cannabis.

Ms Mitchell said the ACT could learn from the legislative process in NSW, including proposed models for the delivery.

"Lots of jurisdictions around the country are looking at this matter. I do think there's a push from communities across the country to see change," she said.  

"There are different models on the table here in the ACT compared to what we are looking at in NSW so it's worth progressing. On issues such as this, when there's been an extensive inquiry process, I don't really see the need for reinventing the wheel." 

If we get it right in the ACT and NSW, it becomes a national issue. That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas  and to get models which if they're not the same are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation. 

 

If we get it right in the ACT and NSW, it becomes a national issue. That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas  and to get models which if they're not the same are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation. 

 

If we get it right in the ACT and NSW, it becomes a national issue. That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas  and to get models which if they're not the same are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation. 

 

If we get it right in the ACT and NSW, it becomes a national issue. That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas  and to get models which if they're not the same are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation. 

If we get it right in the ACT and NSW, it becomes a national issue. That is more than a third of the nation and there are real opportunities to share ideas  and to get models which if they're not the same are at least consistent and set the pattern for the rest of the nation.