Medical Marijuana family


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The Adelaide medical marijuana refugees forced to flee to Canada to save their desperately ill children

Letter from Jack Snelling M.P.
Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Dear Ms Franks,
Thank you for your letter of 16 June 2015 asking that I grant an exemption to administer cannabis oil under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (the Act).
In South Australia, cannabis oil is a controlled drug under the Act and it is an offence to possess cannabis oil; or to supply or administer cannabis oil to another person.
I am told that while the Act allows the South Australian Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse to issue a permit authorizing the cultivation, sale, supply, administration or possession of cannabis oil, this is only for the purpose of analysis, research, instruction or training. I do not have the discretion to permit the use of cannabis oil for other purposes.
The South Australian Government takes the view that cannabis is not a harmless drug. The available evidence highlights the long term harmful effects of cannabis use, including dependence, decreased memory and learning abilities and decreased motivation in areas such as work, study or concentration.
While there is a growing body of evidence for therapeutic benefits from cannabis, including anti-spastic, analgesic, anti-emetic and anti-inflammatory actions, the therapeutic use of cannabis and and products derived from cannabis is still experimental.
The Government is committed to ensuring medicines available in South Australia are safe and effective, and that they do not cause unintended harm to patients of their families. For cannabis to be used therapeutically, more research is required into its efficacy for particular conditions, as well as methods of delivery, to control the psychoactive effects.
The Council of Australian Government Health Ministers agreed it is meeting on 10 October, 2014, to work collaboratively to share knowledge and information on issues relating to use of appropriate therapeutic products derived from cannabis for medicinal purposes.
New South Wales is undertaking clinical trials of medicinal cannabis, and South Australia has observer status on the trials expert pan, however , I am told these trials are not investigating the use of cannabis to treat lung conditions such as you have described.
The safety and efficacy of cannabis for treatment of degenerative lung conditions is not proven.
Responsibility for the assessment and approval of medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes in Australia rests with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (T.G.A). The T.G.A assesses and registers pharmaceutical preparations and products for medical use in Australia based on standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
The T.G.A carries out a range of assessment and monitoring activities to ensure that any drug or substance used for therapeutic purposes is safe, of high quality and reliable in terms of both dose and effect.
Governments cannot compel a sponsor to make an application to the T.G.A. and decisions are made by the T.G.A independent of Ministerial intervention.

Yours sincerely,

Jack Snelling M.P.
Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse