Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has thanked Premier Mike Baird for his leadership in positioning NSW as a frontrunner in medical cannabis research.


The Premier congratulated the Member for Tamworth who first raised the issue of medical cannabis with him, and introduced the Premier to cancer sufferer 25 year old Dan Haslam and his family; Alyce, Lou and Lucy Haslam from Tamworth.


“From that very first meeting I had with the Premier, he understood the importance of what I was talking about and the need to look at doing things differently”.


“He took a personal interest in Dan’s welfare and managed to visit him on several occasions in Tamworth, before Dan’s sad passing in February this year” Mr Anderson said.


Mr Baird said: “The Member for Tamworth came to see me to talk about a young man in his community who was in incredible need and was fighting for his life”.


“It was Kevin’s actions that brought this Government to a position where it had an opportunity to make a difference to people in that situation.


“I will never forget Dan Haslam's eyes, I understood then the difference that it made to him and we knew that Government had a responsibility to do what it could to bring that relief to others


“As a result of that push NSW is now leading the way in cannabis research with Australia’s first medical cannabis trial for terminally ill adults. The trial is part of a $9 million commitment to support medical cannabis clinical trials”.


Mr Baird said the first trial will play a critical role in helping to better understand what role medical cannabis can play in alleviating symptoms and pain in terminally ill patients.


“We do not want patients or carers having to play pharmacist - that is why it is so important to explore the safest and most effective ways we can deliver compassionate care and improve the quality of life,” Mr Baird said.


The first part of the trial, which will be conducted at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital, will enrol approximately 30 patients in order to answer the following questions:


  • Can a potential cannabis product be successfully given to patients by inhaling it as a vapour? 
  • Is the potential cannabis product well tolerated by patients, that is, does it cause any unwanted side effects?
  • What is the ideal dose of the potential cannabis product and how often should it be given?


The next step will be for the research team to seek review and approval of the trial by a Human Research Ethics Committee.


Patients will begin treatment in early 2016 with initial results expected by the end of 2016.

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