Thanks to the new Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme in New South Wales, Australia, patients struggling with a terminal illness will now have access to cannabis leaf, oil, or resin that can help them deal with the pain and other side effects of their illness.
Under the old law, cannabis-based medicines were only allowed to patients who were participating in strict clinical trials, with any use outside of those trials considered to be illegal. Now thanks to the new scheme, any adult who is seriously ill will be able to visit a cannabis outlet that will provide them with the medicinal cannabis that will help them through their illness.
On August 1, 2016, the date the new scheme was introduced, NSW Premier Mike Baird stated, “People who are seriously ill should be able to access these medicines if they are the most appropriate next step in their treatment.”
Anyone who is over the age of 18 and is suffering from a terminal illness is eligible, though they do need to register. In order to register, they must have a physician that is an active participant in their ongoing health care, and that physician must be registered to practice in Australia and certify that the patient does in fact have a terminal illness that would be helped by the use of cannabis. Eligible patients can name up to 3 physicians that are involved in their health care, and those physicians will be registered in the scheme.
Guidelines within the scheme are provided for NSW police officers that will help them determine whether or not they should charge adults using cannabis, depending on whether the patient is registered under the scheme. Although these guidelines are provided, the ultimate decision will still rest with the police officer’s discretion.
Under the new law, cannabis outlets will be able to supply terminal illness patients with up to 15 grams of cannabis flower, 1 gram of cannabis oil, and 2.5 grams of cannabis resin.
This new law is great news to those suffering in NSW, as previously, cannabis use of any kind was strictly forbidden, with the exception of the clinical trials.