Premier Mike Baird will consider medicinal cannabis bill – Sydney Morning Herald

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird is said to be “sympathetic” to a private member’s bill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Premier Mike Baird has left open the possibility he may support a private member’s bill to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, promising that the government would give it “careful consideration”.

The Nationals MP for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, has told the Northern Daily Leader he will draft a bill that would allow the terminally ill to use cannabis.

The move follows publicity around the case of one of Mr Anderson’s constituents, 24-year-old Dan Haslam, who has been using cannabis to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy to treat his terminal cancer.

Nationals State MP for Tamworth Kevin Anderson.

Caring for a constituent: Kevin Anderson. Photo: Northern Daily Leader

Mr Anderson told the newspaper that he met with Mr Baird on Wednesday night to inform him of his proposal.


“The Premier was sympathetic and agreed the time has come to address this issue and he supported my bid to work up a private member’s bill,” Mr Anderson said.

“However, he joined with me in expressing grave concerns about the supply and the prescription of cannabis and the challenge in addressing those issues”.

On Thursday, Mr Baird said: “I support the efforts of any Liberals and Nationals member who wishes to prepare a bill for consideration by the government.”

“We will give careful consideration to Mr Anderson’s bill, and I have nothing but sympathy for the Haslam family as they struggle with their son’s illness,” he said.

However, a spokesman for Mr Baird said the matter would not be the subject of a conscience vote for Liberal MPs, as is often the case for social issues. This means the bill would require the support of the government to pass the lower house.

Greens MP John Kaye said he welcomed the Premier’s support and that he was willing to delay his own proposed bill to give Mr Anderson time to develop his legislation.

“Mr Anderson has indicated that the Premier is now showing some sympathy for the plight of patients with terminal illness and their carers,” he said.

“Although we are not there yet, it is a big step forward from where we were a month ago.”

Last year, an upper house inquiry chaired by Nationals MP Sarah Mitchell recommended that a “complete defence” against arrest and prosecution be introduced for the “authorised medical use of cannabis by patients with terminal illness and those who have moved from HIV infection to AIDS”.

But the recommendation was rejected by Health Minister Jillian Skinner in the government’s response.

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