NSW Govt “stalling” on medical cannabis despite rhetoric
A NORTH Coast medical marijuana pioneer has slammed the Baird Government as 'all talk and no action' on medical marijuana and has threatened to take $10 million earmarked for a medical marijuana production facility to a more favourable legal climate in Victoria.
Founder of Mulloways Medical Cannabis Tony Bower has welcomed the Federal Government's move yesterday to legalise medical marijuana but said the onus was now on the states - and NSW was "stalling".
Under the overarching Federal legislation, patients can only use medical cannabis with a valid prescription and approved under the relevant state legislation.
The Kempsey area-based tincture producer specialises in treating children with epilepsy, many on the North Coast whom he said would die without his treatment.
"There's thousands of kids out there who are seizuring all the time... I think there's one or two dying every fortnight," he said.
"I make as much (cannabis-derived tincture) as I can because some of the children who come to me could be dead in weeks."
Mulloways now fields constant enquiries from hundreds of other parents and cancer patients, and has big plans to expand production - but unfortunately not in NSW.
In October last year the NSW Government announced to much fanfare it would commence a "world first" $3.5 million medical cannabis trial for eplilepsy with British-based GW Pharmaceuticals, part of the wider $9 million cannabis trials announced in 2014.
But Mr Mulloway said those trials would take years and the closed trials were prohibitively expensive and riddled by red tape.
"Mike Baird is a 'gunna do', and every time they say they're going to do something, we then find out it's going to take another year," he said.
In contrast, the Victorian government has already committed to legalising the drug for medical use in 2017 under a complementary medicine framework.
Mr Bower's company has $10 million in private investment to construct a shade cloth cannabis plantation and tincture facility, and said that money was destined to leave the North Coast and head to country Victoria.
"I'm not convinced that NSW will do anything," Mr Bower said.
"NSW will lose all this experience and industry."
"Whatever state will do it, we'll move to."
The Nimbin HEMP Embassy will also apply for a licence to produce medical marijuana following the passage of the Federal laws, president Michael Balderstone announced yesterday.
But Mr Balderstone agreed with Mr Bower about the barriers and said Australians were "still a long way from being able to grow a plant in their backyard".
"People are coming to us all the time thinking it's legal, but it's not."
"They way they talk about it in Parliament is all very positive, but the system that is in place is basically controlled by the pharma industry."