Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Parliamentary Committees

Joint Committee on the Legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. T.A. Franks:

1. That this council—

(a) supports all six members and supporting staff of the Joint Committee on the Legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis attending the 2023 Australian Medicinal Cannabis Symposium to be held in Brisbane from 11 to 13 August 2023;

(b) acknowledges the value of the joint committee holding meetings and hearing evidence while attending the symposium; and

(c) requests the clerks of the houses to provide funding for the members and staff of the committee to travel to and attend the symposium and hold meetings.

2. That a message be sent to the House of Assembly transmitting the foregoing resolution and requesting its concurrence thereto.

(Continued from 14 June 2023.)

The Hon. B.R. HOOD (12:34): I rise briefly to speak to this motion on behalf of the Liberal Party, in support as a member of this committee and as someone who is passionate about access to medicinal cannabis, as the Hon. Tammy Franks is as well. It is important that this committee attend the 2023 Australian Medicinal Cannabis Symposium so we can hear the evidence from those experts in terms of this.

I have young people in my own region of Mount Gambier who rely on CBD oil to manage their epileptic seizures, but unfortunately the cost is very prohibitive for access to CBD oil and other things of that nature. It is very important that this committee do this work and understand the things that are holding people back from being able to access this important medicine. On behalf of the Liberal Party, we support the motion. I commend the motion to the house.

The Hon. S.L. GAME (12:35): I rise briefly as well to support the motion. Since legislation changes in 2016 allowing patients to access medicinal cannabis containing THC, it is necessary to improve the current conditions to which medical cannabis users are subject. The Australian Medical Cannabis Symposium held in Brisbane between the 11th and 13th of August 2023 is an opportunity for the committee to gather and consider evidence in the hopes of legalising medicinal cannabis in South Australia.

On 22 February 2023, I introduced my Statutes Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis Defence) Bill. The bill was designed to afford medicinal cannabis users a complete defence if THC was present in their system while driving a vehicle if they were subject to random mobile drug detection, provided they have a valid doctor's prescription for the medicine containing THC, the person is not involved in dangerous or reckless driving, and the officer cannot establish impairment in the person.

With Australia being the only jurisdiction with random mobile drug testing, many constituents have told me they struggle to decide whether to be healthy and pain free while breaking the law or choose to be in pain with unmanaged mental or physical impairment so they can drive legally. With recent studies providing a clear picture that the medical application of THC does not impair the user in driving conditions, now is the perfect time for legislating the legalisation of medicinal cannabis to incorporate these laws moving forward.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (12:37): I thank those speakers who have made a contribution to this motion: the Hon. Sarah Game and the Hon. Ben Hood. I look forward to this cross-party effort to ensure that South Australians benefit from the parliament understanding the barriers to access what is now legal medicine.

Motion carried.