NSW may be a step closer to legalising medicinal cannabis after Premier Mike Baird met a terminally ill cancer patient who is using the drug illegally.
Terminally-ill cancer patient Daniel Haslam is convinced that NSW will legalise medicinal cannabis, leading the way for the rest of the country.
The 24-year-old’s confidence comes after apparently winning over NSW Premier Mike Baird during an hour-long meeting this week.
Daniel, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March 2010, was given only months to live and has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last four years.
He began taking cannabis to relieve his symptoms and his retired nurse mum Lucy and father Lou – former head of the drug squad in northwest NSW – are now asking politicians to legalise the controversial drug.
Daniel, his wife Alyce and mother flew to Sydney from Tamworth, in northern NSW, on Tuesday and met with Mr Baird.
“I like to think I’m a good judge of character and I believe what he said,” Daniel told AAP on Wednesday.
“I believe he genuinely supports this.”
His mother says until meeting with Mr Baird, her family had received “lip service” from government ministers.
“He said that if it was his wife or his child that was in the same situation as Dan, he would want the same for them,” Lucy said.
“We asked him if he was going to support (legalising medicinal cannabis) and he said `yes’ he would support it.”
Mr Baird said in a statement: “Compassion remains my key focus in this debate – but any solution must address concerns in relation to supply and regulation.”
Australian Medical Association (AMA) federal president Dr Brian Owler said clinical trials were needed to assess the drug.
“The AMA’s position about medicinal cannabis is that we recognise that it does have some therapeutic potential,” he said.
“But that needs to be assessed properly in a regulated way,”
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he had an “open mind” about legalising medicinal cannabis while Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said he intended talking to experts on the issue.
“We can’t have people making their own decisions without proper medical advice on treatment, particularly of children,” Mr Napthine told Fairfax Radio this week.
Under a private members bill to be introduced next month by NSW Nationals MP Kevin Anderson, terminally ill people will be able to legally use cannabis for medical purposes.