December 9, 2015 11:00am
MEDICINAL cannabis could soon be growing alongside poppies in Tasmania under an agreement to be signed by the premiers of Tasmania and New South Wales today.
A Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by Premier Will Hodgman and his NSW counterpart Mike Baird will cover clinical trials, research and cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes.
The agreement is the next step towards giving Tasmanians legal access to medicinal cannabis, after the State Government agreed to participate in NSW trials.
Mr Hodgman said the MOU was a significant step towards bringing long-awaited relief for Tasmanian families who relied on cannabis-based medicines.
“Importantly, this MOU recognises Tasmania’s expertise in research and our world-leading regulation and cultivation of alkaloid poppies,” he said.
“It provides for collaborative state-based cultivation trials to enhance understanding of cannabis cultivation in Australia for medical and scientific purposes, including an examination of the impact of different growing conditions on cannabinoid production.”
Mr Hodgman cultivation trials of medicinal cannabis had the potential to open the door to further opportunities in agriculture.
The NSW Government has established the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation to progress cannabinoid research and support innovation.
It has also announced three clinical trials — targeting children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy; adults with terminal illness, and adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
The MOU will signify a thawing of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s attitude towards medicinal cannabis.
In 2014, Health Minister Michael Ferguson cited his concerns over “the potential for social harm” of a local medicinal cannabis industry.
After the State Government rejected a proposal from Tasman Health Cannabinoids for a trial crop, Mr Ferguson said he wanted any move towards medicinal cannabis to be based on rigorous scientific research.