Pollies in landslide of support for medical marijuana push

A TAMWORTH family’s medical marijuana push has sparked a political landslide across the nation.

In a potentially game-changing 72 hours in the debate, the Western Australian Opposition on Sunday backed the medical prescription of cannabis while the Tasmanian government announced a parliamentary inquiry into the issue on Friday.

The ACT Greens are also poised to introduce a medical marijuana bill while influential federal Queensland Senator Warren Entsch has vowed to take the Haslams’ campaign all the way to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

It comes as the NSW Parliament prepares to vote on a medical marijuana private member’s bill, expected to be tabled by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson by mid-next month.

Tamworth mum Lucy Haslam, who along with son Dan has been the public face of the campaign, said it was “heartening” to see support from all corners of the country.

“Uniform national laws are hugely important because terminally ill people shouldn’t be disadvantaged by where they happen to live,” Mrs Haslam said.

“There’s nothing Australian about that.

“People are starting to realise the value of generating public debate on this issue and it will only succeed if people keep talking to each other and lobby politicians.”

A petition calling on the NSW government to legalise cannabis for the dying has garnered almost 200,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, the CEO of a Tasmanian company ready to launch the first clinical trials of medical cannabis has rejected claims from two Tamworth MPs the company was ill-prepared.

A delegation, which included Mr Anderson and local MLCs Sarah Mitchell and Trevor Khan, met with Tasman Health Cannabinoids CEO Troy Langman last week as part of a fact-finding mission and found the company was not as far advanced as they had hoped.

“My experience of the visit was much more positive (than the MPs had suggested) and I thought we had developed a positive working relationship,” Mr Langman said.

“I don’t understand their comments in the media ... surely they couldn’t expect this to be solved overnight.

“We have very strong relationships with government departments, the University of Tasmania, local councils and the local community.

“We have respected GPs, biochemists and a  barrister on our board and we have secured an incredible indoor growing facility.

“We have a parliamentary inquiry and we also have the support of the Opposition.

“We’re confident that once the government looks into it more and listens to the overwhelming public support, they will have a lightbulb moment and support it too.”

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