MP backs medicinal cannabis call

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride has backed Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell's calls to legalise medical cannabis in South Australia. Picture: Supplied

Charlotte Varcoe and Sophie Conlon

MEMBER for Mackillop Nick McBride has backed a neighbouring member’s call for medical cannabis to be legalised in South Australia.

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell presented a motion in the Lower House asking for recognition of the growing importance of medicinal cannabis and cannabidiol as an alternative treatment option for South Australians.

The motion also supported expanded research and clinical trials into the treatment of conditions including endometriosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and chronic pain alongside requesting the streamlining of access to locally manufactured products for residents.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Bell said he believed South Australian residents “deserve access to the highest quality, modern and affordable healthcare available to them”.

“For a growing number of South Australians, this includes treatment with medical cannabis,” Mr Bell said.

Speaking to the motion Mr McBride said many general practitioners were increasingly being asked about medicinal cannabis as a treatment option, but there were obstacles in place stopping them from prescribing it.

“I hear that the most potential for streamlining access to medicinal cannabis is in the area of

palliative care,” he said.

“Sadly, in many palliative care cases we often see patients bedbound and medicated at a level that leaves them in a highly sedated state.

“If medicinal cannabis were an option for GPs for palliative care patients, it is my belief it could potentially provide an elevated quality of life in their final days.

“It could be the medication that provides the important balance of adequate pain relief along with some cognitive function at the end of their life.”

He said no one wanted to see patients access medicinal cannabis illegally and he would like to see it become embraced as a mainstream treatment.

“I hope that the current joint committee can provide some recommendations to navigate a pathway

forward for more mainstream medicinal cannabis use,” he said.

“We need to continue to take up opportunities to research and promote the use of medicinal cannabis for a range of conditions and I do hope that parliament and the state embrace medicinal cannabis or medical treatments as an alternative where modern medicines have failed.”