Medical Cannabis

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:10 :54 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, representing the Premier, on the topic of medical cannabis.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The New South Wales medical cannabis trials under Premier Baird, and supported there by the Labor opposition, will soon commence. They will treat children with epilepsy, the terminally ill and people suffering from nausea as a result of chemotherapy.

The premiers of Victoria and Queensland have confirmed that they will allow residents of those states who are terminally ill or suffering with life-threatening conditions, as well as those wotj epilepsy and those undergoing chemotherapy, to participate in those New South Wales clinical trials. In April 2015, Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that her state would, and I quote, not 'sit on the sidelines', but, disappointingly, Premier Weatherill is doing just that by saying South Australia is supportive of the trials, but we will wait.

Meanwhile, children like Charlotte, the daughter of medical cannabis campaigner Mark Elliott, suffer with up to 40 seizures each week because of their condition called febrile infection-related epileptic syndrome (FIRES), a condition which currently means that, each day, she is taking a cocktail of 40 meds: 20 with her breakfast in the morning and then another 20 just before bed. She still has trouble functioning (walking, talking), she suffers awful side-effects and she still has these seizures.

Studies suggest that medical cannabis might reduce these seizures by as much as 50 per cent, but Charlotte's family risk going to gaol if they were to give her this treatment. Instead, this young girl is currently given medications that can cause awful side-effects including mood swings, body hair growth, facial deformities, sedation, impaired memory, slurred speech, decreased coordination, confusion, dizziness and headaches.

My question to the Premier is: when will South Australia actually stop sitting on the sidelines and get in the game? While political leaders of all colours across this nation are supporting those who wish to access medical cannabis to have that treatment, when is the Premier going to support kids in South Australia like Charlotte?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:13 :17 ): I thank the member for her questions and will refer them to the relevant minister in the other place and bring back a response

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