Medicinal cannabis will soon be legal to access in Queensland.
State Parliament passed the legislation, the first of its kind in Australia.
Those suffering life-threatening conditions have welcomed the changes.
Lily Nothling reports.
It’s been a long road but from March next year, doctors can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis.
The bill was passed unanimously with bipartisan support last night.
Advocates say it gives hope to families who’ve exhausted all other options.
Melissa Fox, Health Consumers Queensland: “We know that Queensland families often in desperate situations, trying to get the care that they need for their children, have spoken loudly and clearly, and their parliamentary representatives have listened.”
Families like Steve Peek’s, who says cannabis oil is the only thing that controls his daughter’s epilepsy and restores her quality of life.
Steve Peek, Medical Cannabis Advocate: “There’s a lot of people out who’ve had a lot of very good results from using cannabis oil. It’s not just me, it’s not just two or three people, there’s thousands of people using it.”
But the treatment isn’t included in the PBS, meaning for some, it may prove too expensive.
Opponents are concerned the legislation sends a confusing message and will serve as a gateway to relaxing other drug laws.
Dr Stuart Reece, University of WA: “Everywhere where medicinal cannabis has gone, the legalisation campaign follows hard and fast on its heels. There’s no question what’s going on here strategically.”
Medicinal cannabis products will still need to be approved by the TGA before they can be prescribed.
Here at the Lady Cilento, children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy will take part in clinical trials, which are due to start at the end of the year.
It’s another step forward for families who are desperate to end their children’s suffering.
Queensland joins a long list of countries who’ve legalised the drug, including Canada, New Zealand and the US.
Lily Nothling, QUT News