Patients suffering from chronic pain are one step closer to accessing medicinal cannabis in South Australia.
Since November 1 last year, certain cannabis products have been considered in the same class as medicines such morphine, available under prescription by authorised medical specialists in South Australia.
The state government hosted key stakeholders at a round table on January 30 to discuss the potential for the establishment of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in the state.
Murray Bridge man Matthew Rowland attended the round table as a representative for the Cannabis Council of South Australia.
He said he had seen many people suffering from all qualities of life who had benefited from medicinal cannabis.
“Cannabis could replace more addictive substances currently used to combat chronic pain, and it’s a natural substance.
“If it can benefit a condition and a doctor has deemed cannabis the best thing, I’m all for that.
“No one wants to move to another state to try and get something that they know can help them or someone they love,” he said.
He said medicinal cannabis could save lives and improve quality of life for patients.
Mr Rowland said legalising medicinal cannabis would not only benefit the healthcare industry and patients who are suffering but would contribute to the state’s economy.
“If we look to Colorado where they’ve legalised for recreation, they (the government) are making so much money through tax regulations of the sale and the enforcement,” he said.
“Because of it, they (the government) can then give back to homeless people, put money into schools, and do all kinds of stuff.”
He said the Cannabis Council had been working with government for six years to find open-minded individuals in government who would stick their hand up.
He said the round table mainly discussed where cannabis would be stored locally, whether with the doctor, the pharmacy or the patient themselves.
“A doctor can now prescribe cannabis and seek approval for supply through the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” he said.
“They can then seek supply from overseas as there is no one here who is an approved manufacturer or provider yet.”
Given the right framework, Mr Rowland believed legalising marijuana all together could be successful.
He said legalising at a recreational level would take time and would need to be regulated on an addictive scale.
“It does have the capacity to be addictive but there are no substantial risks to cannabis,” he said.
Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation Kyam Maher said medicinal cannabis products made from Australian-grown cannabis crops could be available this year.
If so, Mr Rowland said Murraylands farmers could utilise the opportunity to manufacture medicinal cannabis in the future.
“Locals could reap the benefits from the money this could generate for SA,” he said.