New South Australia will become the first state to legalise medicinal marijuana as part of a national pilot scheme, according to the state’s health minister.
Key points:Medicinal marijuana will be used for people with serious illnesses or diseases including cancer and HIVThe federal government will fund the program for five yearsThe federal Government will not cover the cost of providing medicinal cannabis to patientsThe federal and state governments will co-ordinate a program that will provide medical marijuana to people suffering from severe or chronic illnesses.
Medical marijuana will become legal for people suffering serious illnesses in New Zealand and Australia from November next year.
The program, known as MMP, was launched in Queensland last month.
Under the plan, patients will be able to obtain medicinal marijuana from pharmacies across the country.
Health Minister David Elliott said the new state-based model was in line with the national model and the Government had been committed to supporting this program.
“I think that the pilot scheme will be the first of its kind in the country, and will be a model that other states can follow and we will be very clear that this is not a one-size-fits-all model,” he said.
“The Government is committed to working with other states in the future to bring these programs in to New Zealand, Australia and around the world.”
The government will also provide $4.2 million over five years for the program, which will be paid for by the federal Government.
Mr Elliott said it was hoped the program would also help reduce the number of deaths from cancer and chronic diseases.
“There are currently more than 13,000 Australians living with cancer, and almost one in three of those Australians have cancer, meaning that almost one out of four people who die from cancer will also die from that,” he told the ABC.
“It’s important that we get people to take time out of their day and get treatment.”
Mr Elliott confirmed that the program was not intended to be a cure-all.
“This is not going to be the cure-everybody-should-have-a-go medicine.
There are other things that are good for people that you can take for a condition, and we’re just not going out there and saying we’ve got a cure for every disease, and that’s not the goal,” he added.
The state government has also pledged to fund the cost for the pilot program for the next five years.
The program will be administered by the State Medicines and Therapeutics Agency (SMART), which has the authority to approve medicinal marijuana for use in New New Zealand.