Medical Cannabis (s)

Question Time

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Medical Cannabis

            The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:34):  My question is to the Minister for Manufacturing: how many medical practitioners are currently authorised to prescribe medicinal cannabis in South Australia?

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:34):  My understanding is, and I am happy to go away and get better advice if this is wrong, it was only in recent weeks that the federal body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has opened up a prescribed practitioner pathway. Previous to that, my understanding is that the federal TGA would allow a particular patient and a particular medical practitioner to access medicinal cannabis since the federal government made changes, I think it was last November.

 I am not sure how many, since a few weeks ago when that was changed to a prescribed practitioner model, have been authorised in South Australia. I am happy to write to the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is under the control of the federal Liberal government, and ask them how many in South Australia and see if I can find out breakdowns for other states as well for the honourable member.

MEDICAL CANNABIS

 The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:35):  My supplementary is: given that the patient pathway is actually a matter for state governments, and as the minister—

  The Hon. K.J. Maher:  What pathway are you talking about?

            The Hon. S.G. WADE:  The patient pathways—             Members interjecting:

  The PRESIDENT:  Allow the Hon. Mr Wade to finish his question.

 The Hon. S.G. WADE:  Mr President, if I might be allowed a bit more latitude to perhaps put the question in context. In the context of the minister's responsibility for medicinal cannabis and in the context of SA Health having issued a discussion paper on patient pathway options for South Australia, I ask the minister will he have delegated responsibilities from the Minister for Health or from cabinet to effect the patient pathways being consulted on by the SA Health discussion paper? We just want clarity on the ministerial arrangements.

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:36):  I apologise to the chamber for the honourable member's confusion and confusing the chamber on this question. I think we are all less informed after having listened to his two questions. We are all significantly less informed now. Primary responsibility rests with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Office of Drug Control. The Department for Health, and I can't remember but I think it was towards the end of last year, issued a discussion paper about how things could be clarified. I will go and check, but I think that's due to report soon and I am happy to inform the member when it does.

MEDICAL CANNABIS

 The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:37):  Supplementary: as the minister responsible for medicinal cannabis, considering that his Labor colleagues in New South Wales have moved towards GP-based prescription and that his SA Health discussion paper recommends specialist focused prescription, what's his intention?

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:37):  The government intends to release the results of this discussion paper in due course. I gather the honourable member has just announced a Liberal policy that they will allow GPs to issue medicinal cannabis in South Australia. I thank the honourable member for his one policy so far.

            The PRESIDENT:  The Hon. Ms Lensink.

 The Hon. T.A. FRANKS:  Point of order: the Hon. Kelly Vincent has attempted to have a supplementary probably for the last three supplementaries. I think she should be recognised.

 The PRESIDENT:  I would be the first one to recognise the Hon. Ms Vincent, but it is very difficult with her laptop to see any red light or whatever. I can't see it from here.

            The Hon. T.A. Franks:  I also pointed.

 The PRESIDENT:  I wasn't looking at you, I was looking at the contributors. The Hon. Ms Vincent.

MEDICAL CANNABIS

 The Hon. K.L. VINCENT (14:38):  Thank you, sir. My supplementary is: could the minister advise whether he has any figures on how many people are currently using medical cannabis to treat conditions legally, or otherwise, and does he also have figures by how much that figure might grow if the legal pathway was simplified?

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:38):  I thank the honourable member for her considered question. I agree with much of the premise of the question that the pathway should be simplified and that was the whole point of the discussion paper that the government released. I don't have figures, but I can ask and bring back an answer as to the numbers of people who might be accessing the legal pathway to medicinal cannabis. I am not sure I will be able to find an answer to how many are accessing it illegally. The first part of the question, though, I am happy to see if I can find a response to bring back to the honourable member.

MEDICAL CANNABIS

 The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:39):  Supplementary: when the minister clarifies how many authorised prescribers there are in South Australia from the federal information, will he provide a list to the chamber of those authorised prescribers?

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:39):  I thank the honourable member for her supplementary question. I am happy to go away and take advice about whether that is something that can be done. I don't know what the privacy or other rules are around prescribers.

            The Hon. S.G. Wade:  If they are authorised, they are authorised.

            The Hon. K.J. MAHER:  I am happy to go and ask and find out.

            The PRESIDENT:  The Hon. Ms Lensink.

            The Hon. S.G. Wade interjecting:

            The PRESIDENT:  Order! The Hon. Ms Lensink has the floor.

            The Hon. S.G. Wade interjecting:

            The PRESIDENT:  The Hon. Mr Wade will desist.

            Members interjecting:

 The PRESIDENT:  The honourable members will desist. Have a little respect when your colleague is on her feet to ask a question.

            Members interjecting:

 The PRESIDENT:  Will you two gentlemen like to go outside and continue this while the Hon. Ms Lensink asks her question?

  The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink:  I need the minister here actually: it's his question.

  The PRESIDENT:  Well, you stay, Hon. Mr Wade.

 

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