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Medicinal cannabis use 'worth considering in SA, say doctors, Oppo

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Doctors and the Liberal Opposition in South Australia are keen for the state to take another look at legalising medicinal use of marijuana.

On Tuesday Victoria passed laws to allow children with severe epilepsy to use medicinal cannabis from next year, and New South Wales is conducting a trial for patients suffering vomiting and nausea as a result of chemotherapy.

SA Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said South Australia was "well behind best practice".

"South Australia has been absolutely dragging the chain on this one ... the rest of the country are looking at this opportunity to relieve people, in exceptional circumstances," he said.

He urged SA Health Minister Jack Snelling to consider the issue more seriously.

"Jack Snelling does not seem to want to embrace this opportunity to relieve children who are suffering horrendous symptoms," Mr Marshall said.

SA law already allows discretion: Snelling

Mr Snelling said he already had powers under the Controlled Substances Act to allow some patients access medicinal cannabis.

"I have indicated to one particular family that in particular circumstances I am prepared to do that," he said.

But he ruled out changing the law in South Australia.

"We won't be, at this stage, making any legislative change — I'm waiting to see the outcomes of the New South Wales trial," Mr Snelling said.

Australian Medical Association state president Janice Fletcher agreed the law needed reconsideration.

"I think Victoria being the first tells us it's time to have another look," Dr Fletcher said.

"There is evidence for particular groups of patients that it does improve symptom control, but it's a small group of patients.

"We need a robust review of the evidence "

There has been a recent push in the SA Riverland for the region to get involved in cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use.


By Tom Fedorowytsch



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