Opposition Leader supports trials of medicinal marijuana

CAUTIOUS: Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg and GP Dr Ross Hetherington support plans for medicinal marijuana trials.
CAUTIOUS: Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg and GP Dr Ross Hetherington support plans for medicinal marijuana trials. File

A STATE Government plan to conduct medicinal marijuana trials has won support from members of the Southern Downs health community, including former health minister Lawrence Springborg.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the plan last month, drawing strong support from campaigners who for years have been agitating for the controversial therapy to be trialled.

Queensland has aligned with Victoria and New South Wales, where medicinal marijuana trials will begin next year.

The plan looks set to have bi-partisan support with Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg revealing the LNP had plans to begin trials if they had been re-elected in January.

"On October 10 last year I signed off with other health ministers on a bi-partisan agreement that we would co-operate and discuss as a state holding trials and accessing the safety of medicinal cannabis," he said.

"This is the LNP plan being accepted by the Labor Government, it's by and large a bi-partisan approval."

The medicinal marijuana plan has also won support from local GP Ross Hetherington, who said it was a great idea to conduct trials.

"I'm very, very happy we're going down the track of conducting trials," he said.

"It may have a place in the treatment of something.

"It's been a slow evolution."

Despite his optimism, Dr Hetherington expressed concerns that the trials could be corrupted by some.

"My concerns are that it will be used and abused like other medications," he said.

Mr Springborg also cautioned that the trials were strictly about using products taken from the marijuana plant and weren't about letting people freely smoke marijuana.

"It's about trials with a view to seeing if there are benefits for people suffering a particular ailment," he said.

"It's medicinal cannabis products, it's not smoking marijuana.

"We need to keep it about the extracts of the cannabis plant."

Mr Springborg said the trials will be carefully monitored by medical professionals and the results will take some time to finalise.

"We're talking about a drug which may be able to help you but if not done right it can harm you," he said.

"It has to be done properly and it will take some time.

"The trials could take two to five years to come to a conclusion."

Topics:  cannabis lawrence springborg

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