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The NSW Government has voted down Labor legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession.

The proposed legislation was to ensure that sufferers of terminal and serious medical conditions who rely on medicinal cannabis to ease their pain, would no longer be treated as criminals. The legislation would also create the mechanism to create a safe and lawful supply chain of product, to make access a practical reality for sufferers.

The legislation sought 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, requiring them to receive photo identification and medical certification from NSW Health in order to possess medicinal cannabis. These amounts could be adjusted by regulation, according to medical treatment need.

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

The proposed legislation adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which received unanimous support from five political parties including NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

"The unanimous recommendations of the Parliamentary inquiry were delivered in 2013,” said Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle. “Labor has always been ready, willing and able to work with the NSW Government to make access to medicinal cannabis a reality.”

“Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support- and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” said Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

“It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction.”

A number of other states have already legalised medicinal cannabis use (including Victoria and the ACT), and at one point NSW was expected to  overtake Victoria with the legislation.

Illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions:
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
  • motor neurone disease;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • the neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome;
  • severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
  • pain associated with cancer;
  • neuropathic pain;
  • an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.
  [post_title] => NSW medicinal cannabis bill fails [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government has voted down legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-medicinal-cannabis-bill-fails [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:05:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:05:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27798 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26999 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-02 05:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-01 19:00:09 [post_content] =>

    A report into Australia’s burgeoning medicinal cannabis share market or 'pot stock' boom has highlighted eye-popping share price increases and a rush of investor enthusiasm but cautioned prospective investors to watch and wait. A 2017 Australian Stock Report (ASR) Medical marijuana: Should you buy into these companies?, aimed at share traders and investors, says medicinal cannabis stocks have shot up by more than 130 per cent this year but recommends restraint due to the “relative infancy of medical marijuana on the ASX”. Millions of dollars have poured into the fledgling industry since it became legal to cultivate, produce and manufacture medicinal cannabis products in Australia on October 30 last year. So far, it can only be used for treating a fairly narrow range of conditions such as severe epilepsy, chronic pain, HIV and chemo-induced nausea. Investors and speculators are always looking for the next big thing and they seem to have found it in medicinal cannabis as they’ve watched stocks climb and interest explode.   But the ASR warns that medicinal cannabis related stocks could fail to translate capital investments into sustainable profits and that management teams are likely to be inexperienced when dealing with the regulations and consumer demands of an emerging industry. “This is likely to bring management mistakes as they anticipate supply and demand growth which may or may not occur, leading to inventory disruptions and unanticipated cost,” The ASR says. New industry players have entered the market as barriers have fallen but this can lead to industry fragmentation and spell lower investment returns. Companies that have recently listed on the ASX include The Hydroponics Company (THC) in Sydney; AusCann; Zelda Therapeutics; MMJ Phytotech Ltd; Perth company MGC Pharma; Creso Pharma and International Cannabis Corp. “The overall industry appears to have a bright future with growing evidence pointing to the medical attributes of using marijuana,” said the ASR. “Despite this growing demand we think the Australian listed entities are too immature at this stage to be considered as a financial investment and we prefer to watch from the side lines to determine which if any can transform into making positive cash flows,” the report concludes. “Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm but these listed entities are also thinly traded, meaning there is not much stock available to buy or sell. Thinly traded stocks are hard to move in and out of, prices get pushed up as investors secure stock but also drop a lot faster when investors decide to exit.” The ASR advises investors to take the time to understand a company’s financials and its products before investing. Industry expert Rhys Cohen has welcomed the growing number of medicinal cannabis companies listing on the ASX but he said we should not lose sight of what is at stake for patients.   “There’s a bit too much hype around the financialisation of this industry that may not be best for the industry or patients,” Mr Cohen said. “I don’t think anyone is at fault. People are really excited about this – there are a lot of reasons to be excited and I’m not trying to put down people who invest in pot stocks - but it’s distracting people from the realities of the industry, like expanding patient access and investing more in medical research and education.” While floating companies was a good way for companies to access capital funding he said that some of the hype around pot stock deals had drawn people’s attention from what was really important: the long-term viability of the industry and the well-being of patients. The two main barriers to industry growth were patient access and domestic drug approval. To be prescribed medicinal cannabis, patients must first visit their medical practitioner who must then get approval from the state or territory health department and the federal health department to import the drug before they can access it. “People are really frustrated because they’ve been told it’s legal and available but actually it’s a lot more complex than that. There are a lot of barriers. It requires your medical practitioner to be a real advocate for you.” At present there is no domestic product and companies must undergo an arduous approval process to be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, prior to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. But Mr Cohen, who works for the Australian subsidiary of Israeli medicinal cannabis company Cann10, is doing something about building local capacity in the industry with Australia’s first medical cannabis leadership program, which kicks off in Melbourne later this year. Cann10 will run the 8-week program for 40 participants in partnership with DeakinCo., the commercial arm of Deakin University. The one-night a week course will cover topics including botany and cultivation; clinical science; agriculture and genetics; extraction and legislation; commerce and R&D and regulation and it is aimed at doctors, nurses, pharmacists and scientists, as well as agricultural, biomedical and technological entrepreneurs. Mr Cohen said he hoped the course would be a springboard for people to start new ventures, research programs and businesses and would help entrepreneurs to network. “There’s so much work to be done in learning every part of the medicinal cannabis industry. There are companies that are doing some really exciting, cutting edge medical research and finding new ways of delivering it, such as pills and oils,” he said. “Really we’re just getting started. This industry didn’t exist pre-1992. It’s only really in the last few years that we’ve been able to do real research on the cannabis plant.” He said Australia was ideally placed to develop a globally successful medicinal cannabis industry because once up and running the product would be high quality and rigorously regulated with good access to Asian markets. Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.    [post_title] => Curb your enthusiasm: The overhyped medicinal cannabis ‘pot stock’ boom [post_excerpt] => Don’t lose sight of patients, says industry expert. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => curb-enthusiasm-overhyped-medicinal-cannabis-pot-stock-boom [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:04:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:04:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26999 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24617 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-08-04 12:36:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-04 02:36:25 [post_content] => Close-up of four medical marijuana prescription containers. One opened container is in the foreground with cannabis bud falling out.   The ACT is well known for having the most relaxed cannabis laws in the country but the Territory has been slower than other states to establish a medicinal cannabis scheme for the very sick. That’s all about to change. Although it is illegal to grow, possess or use cannabis anywhere in Australia, if you are caught with less than 25g of marijuana or two non-hydroponic plants in the ACT you will be slapped with a $100 fine but no criminal charges but the ACT has lagged behind Queensland, Victoria and NSW in introducing a medicinal cannabis scheme. ACT Assistant Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris announced today (Thursday) that the ACT will give people safe, legal access to high quality medicinal cannabis, following the recent interim decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to downgrade cannabis from a prohibited substance to a controlled drug. Ms Fitzharris said getting the scheme up and running was a priority but it needed to be built on evidence. “At the moment, there are no clinical guidelines on what types of conditions medicinal cannabis can and should be prescribed for,” she said. “The ACT Government will develop evidence-based guidelines to inform and support medical practitioners in how to best prescribe medicinal cannabis products.  We will also develop education materials for clinicians and the general public to support these guidelines.” Despite the move, the ACT will not agree to license the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis within its borders, even though federal legislation allows it. Instead of growing the stuff the ACT would lead the R&D to develop a framework for the prescription, use and distribution of medicinal cannabis. Ms Fitzharris said: “We already have some of the best medical researchers in the country based at our local institutions and advancing research on the efficacy of medicinal cannabis to treat a range of illnesses and conditions presents another opportunity to support cutting edge research in Canberra and showcase our city as the research capital of Australia.” The University of Canberra is currently running a $1 million medical cannabis trial for treating melanoma in partnership with Cann Pharmaceutical. The ACT government will set up two expert advisory committees to deal with the issues thrown up by the scheme. The Medicinal Cannabis Medical Advisory Panel will advise on developing clinical guidelines and regulations while the Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Group will advise government on the broader economic, legal and social issues related to the introduction of a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, including criminal activity and law enforcement. The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is expected to be in place by 2017. ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, whose 2015 Bill to introduce medicinal cannabis was rejected by the major parties, welcomed the government’s positive policy shift but said it should act quickly.  “In the past there have unfortunately been policy commitments on medicinal cannabis by other state governments which have never come to fruition – for example over a decade ago NSW promised a medicinal cannabis scheme when under public pressure only to later abandon the promise and make no progress at all,” he said. ­­­­­­­­­­ He urged the government not to be too restrictive about who could access the scheme and said it should include people with terminal illnesses as well as other serious illnesses, including children with severe epilepsy. with the backing of a doctor. Rattenbury argued that the scheme should happen within one year and until then there should be an amnesty for very sick people found in possession of small amounts of cannabis for medical use. He added that it would be best if it was not just limited to pharmaceutical cannabis products because there were not many of them and they would take many years to develop further. [post_title] => Medicinal cannabis for ACT [post_excerpt] => Canberra catches up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 24617 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-11 09:29:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-10 23:29:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24617 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17966 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2015-02-03 09:52:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-02-02 22:52:11 [post_content] => diet pills The article first appeared in the August/September issue of Government News. Continued recreational drug use in Australia presents an urgent challenge for local governments to show leadership to ensure all their staff have a safe workplace, according to testing expert Michael White. A recent United Nations report on worldwide drug use showed that, per capita, Australia has the highest rates of dangerous and illicit drug use in the world. In effect, Australians are the world’s highest users of Ecstasy, Ice and Cannabis, and many of those drug-using Australians work in local government jobs. The variety of potentially dangerous roles carried out by local government employees is of significant concern to Michael White, who says that local governments need to get serious about drugs in the workplace, and develop procedures and protocols to ensure local government worksites are drug-safe. “Council workers are driving trucks, operating heavy machinery, in charge of roadside mowers, bulldozers or forklifts and who are impaired bydrugs are not only putting themselves at risk, but are also seriously endangering their co-workers and communities around them,” said Michael. Many local governments and councils are now working towards creating a drug-safe workplace based upon education and workplace screening. So why is this important to government and council workers, what are the benefits of a drug-safe workplace, and what does being drug-safe actually mean? Firstly let’s look at some key facts about alcohol and other drugs in the workplace:
  • 25 per cent of workplace accidents are drug related;
  • 10 per cent of workplace deaths are drug related;
  • Almost 70 per cent of drug users are in full time employment; and
  • 80 per cent of workplace drug-related injuries involve co-workers or bystanders not drug users.
The use of drugs, even in small amounts can impair performance, judgment, coordination concentration and alertness. On a worksite this can result in mistakes, accidents and injuries, damage to workplace equipment, deterioration in workplace relationships, increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. The laws Under Occupational Health and Safety laws all government employers have a duty of care to their employees. The legislation varies from state to state but the principles remain the same: an employer must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe without risks to health and safety, as well as monitor the health and safety of all employees. Under the same legislation employees must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others.  In effect, that means both employers and employees should not be affected by drugs or alcohol in a way that puts others at risk. Drugs in the workplace A working environment can be viewed as a snapshot of the wider community. Drugs that are consumed recreationally, often at weekends or after work, are more often than not transported to the workplace, not always knowingly. Many people think that consuming alcohol or using drugs out of work hours is private business.  Not true, said Michael, when the effects can have profound ramifications on workplace safety. “Many illicit drugs have effects that can last for many hours, even days and although workers can be using alcohol or drugs in private, many are still turning up to work many hours later impaired by hangovers or with drugs in their system,” said Michael. Common substances The most commonly used of all illicit drugs and subsequently the most commonly found in work place drug testing is marijuana or cannabis. As a result of hydroponics and cultivation the potency of today’s marijuana far outweighs the milder version of the 60’s and 70’s. Today’s high powered cannabis is so strong it can cause psychotic conditions such as paranoid schizophrenia. With effects lasting in the body up to six hours, cannabis presents a real danger in the workplace, with a greater risk of accident and injury, particularly if the employee is operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle. Cannabis use also results in loss of energy and interest in employee tasks and overall poor performance. Ecstasy is growing in popularity, as it’s reasonably easy to produce, cheap to buy and widely available. Ecstasy is an amphetamine based stimulant or ‘upper’ that works within the user’s central nervous system. The short term effects of amphetamine based drugs include a ‘rush’ which includes speeding up of bodily activities such as heart rate, breathing and blood pressure, the mouth can dry up, sweating increases and fluid loss can cause severe headaches. Ecstasy users will feel more energetic and alert, have increased confidence, reduced appetite and tend to lower their inhibitions or drop their guard. In some people amphetamines will cause irritability, anxiety, depressive, hostile and aggressive behavior. Panic attacks can also occur. Coming down from an amphetamine high can involve violent behavior, tension, radical mood swings, depression and total exhaustion. Often the user will display shaking, sweating and feelings of nausea. Methamphetamine or Ice has become the biggest concern for the Australian police forces nationwide.  Ice stimulates the senses, increases the libido, over heats the body, removes any sense of conscience or responsibility, and makes the user believe that have super strength. Add in paranoia and a tendency towards extreme violence and it becomes one of the most dangerous drugs available. The most dangerous effect is that Ice keeps users in this state for three or four days followed by the worst hangover imaginable. A council worker using Ice is nothing but a danger to themselves and those working with them. Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive or mood changing recreational drug in Australia, and when mixed with other illicit drugs the results can be disastrous.  Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, not a stimulant as commonly thought. Depending on various circumstances including the amount of consumed, alcohol can have some seriously debilitating effects including increased confusion, reduced coordination, slurred speech, poor muscle control, blurred vision. Heavy consumption of alcohol over time can cause permanent damage to many parts of the body including impairment of brain and liver functions. Creating a Drug-Safe Workplace programme Identifying alcohol and drug use in the workplace as part of an ongoing drug screening programme is relatively simple. “There are a variety of screening techniques and processes for testing including breathalysers for alcohol, and urine or oral fluid sampling for illicit drugs,” said Michael. “Workplace drug testing, combined with implementing alcohol and other drugs policies, developing staff induction processes, training workshops, drug awareness programmes and management courses, will mean that local government workplaces and communities can move toward being drug-safe,” he said. “Being a drug-safe work place has benefits for local government employers and employees alike. Not only are employers fulfilling their legislative requirements, reducing the cost of absenteeism and ensuring workplace safety, employees and their families can rest assured that the chance of accident or injury at work can be significantly reduced,” said Michael. Here are some simple steps to creating a drug-safe workplace:
  1. Engage a NATA accredited, on-site organisation that can assist you with a full spectrum of options and solutions.
  2. Ensure you have a good and legally robust alcohol and other drugs policy that spells out the details in easy to comprehend language.
  3. Conduct alcohol and other drug education and awareness workshops where you can introduce the policies as part of the discussion process.
  4. Introduce a new staff and contractor d  rug-safe induction process to ensure that no bad habits can be recruited into the organisation going forward.
  5. Train WHS managers or supervisors to conduct alcohol and drug tests as part of a return to work process for those employees who may have been identified as drug users and need to take some time off to clean out their systems.
  6. Conduct a blanket screen of all employees to establish a base-line to measure performance and identify hot-spots that need focus. This allows an affordable sensible random screening schedule that concentrates on the areas of highest risk.
  7. Review reports and manage the program over time to ensure the original objectives are being achieved.
Case study A NSW North Coast council office received reports from colleagues and local community members that workers were behaving dangerously and erratically. The incidents were overlooked until a worker drove through a built up area with a cherry picker in an upright position, bringing down power lines and blacking out several streets. Upon investigation it was found that the crew was cultivating and using marijuana within their workplace, out of sight of the management. The GM introduced a Frontline Diagnostics drug-safe workplace programme which identified 100 per cent drug use within the crew who were stood down until they could show they were clean and could return to work. After four months of education workshops, blanket screening and introducing an induction process, the staff have no drugs at all in their system. Absenteeism and productivity has greatly improved and there are no longer risks of drug-related accidents. Michael White established Frontline Diagnostics, Australia’s largest workplace drug testing agency, in 1999 to provide Australian industry with a complete solution for the detection, management and control of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. www.frontlinediagnostics.com.au   [post_title] => Staying drug-safe at work [post_excerpt] => Drug testing at work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => staying-drug-safe-at-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-02-06 11:03:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-02-06 00:03:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=17966 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 4 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27798 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 15:36:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 05:36:04 [post_content] => The NSW Government has voted down Labor legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. The proposed legislation was to ensure that sufferers of terminal and serious medical conditions who rely on medicinal cannabis to ease their pain, would no longer be treated as criminals. The legislation would also create the mechanism to create a safe and lawful supply chain of product, to make access a practical reality for sufferers. The legislation sought 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, requiring them to receive photo identification and medical certification from NSW Health in order to possess medicinal cannabis. These amounts could be adjusted by regulation, according to medical treatment need. Currently, people who purchase cannabis to alleviate the pain and distress associated with chronic and terminal illnesses face criminal penalties under the Crimes Act (1900). The proposed legislation adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which received unanimous support from five political parties including NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. "The unanimous recommendations of the Parliamentary inquiry were delivered in 2013,” said Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle. “Labor has always been ready, willing and able to work with the NSW Government to make access to medicinal cannabis a reality.” “Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support- and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” said Opposition Leader Luke Foley. “It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction.” A number of other states have already legalised medicinal cannabis use (including Victoria and the ACT), and at one point NSW was expected to  overtake Victoria with the legislation. Illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions:
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
  • motor neurone disease;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • the neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome;
  • severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
  • pain associated with cancer;
  • neuropathic pain;
  • an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.
  [post_title] => NSW medicinal cannabis bill fails [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government has voted down legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-medicinal-cannabis-bill-fails [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:05:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:05:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27798 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 4 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => da39f60db97c47153378cf51bc22d473 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

marijuana