29 March 2017

Leading health officials from around the world will today gather at the Museum of Sydney for an international forum on medicinal cannabis regulation.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the government-funded Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation will host talks with experts from Canada, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands and New Zealand on different approaches taken around the world so far.

“The NSW Government has committed $21 million towards world-first medicinal cannabis clinical trials and reforms,” said Mr Hazzard.

“We were the first state in the country to legislate to allow doctors to apply to prescribe cannabis products from overseas and are at the forefront of regulatory changes.

“We are pursuing a medical model in NSW. This is what will give some of our sickest patients the best hope – by providing access to safe, high-quality and effective medicines.”

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane said the forum will provide a valuable opportunity for frank discussion on the successes and failures around the world in regulating medicinal cannabis.

“We’re delighted to be bringing together the best of the best from around the globe to share their knowledge on what is a really important topic,” said Professor O’Kane.

“NSW is already playing a strong leadership role in building an evidence base for the potential therapeutic benefits for cannabis and cannabis-based products through clinical trials in the areas of palliative care, paediatric epilepsy and chemotherapy- induced nausea and vomiting.

“NSW recognises the critical need for health practitioners to be fully supported in determining the appropriateness of the use of medicinal cannabis for patients and today is an important step in achieving that,” said Professor O’Kane.

The forum will also explore opportunities for research collaboration, collecting and sharing data and ways to educate and support medical professionals and patients.