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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 August 2015) . . Page.. 2816 ..

which enabled us to approach this as a national issue rather than having to do something on our own. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (10.11): I would like to echo some of Dr Bourke’s comments in thanking the committee secretary, Nicola Kosseck, for her tireless efforts in assisting the committee during this inquiry. Not only was it a fairly controversial issue for many people within the community but it was also one that invoked great discussion and a wide number of submissions. There was a fairly substantial number of submissions, totalling about 35. Having regard to the difficulty of managing a committee that had some very diverse views on this issue, I think it is a testament to how the committee has been structured and how the committee is run. On this issue specifically, the delivery of report No 6 of the health committee brings together the common ground that we could find between the four individual members of the committee.

The report points out the need for further research in a clinical setting and also in research trials to determine the efficacy of cannabis for treating medical illnesses. I refer also to recommendations 3, 4 and 6, that state that the ACT government should be focusing on delivering a national scheme rather than on the preference of going it alone.

Recommendation 5 highlights that there are significant flaws with the draft bill which was submitted by the Greens, around which we were asked to conduct the inquiry. Certainly, having regard to my personal experience of this inquiry, my view on the issue has changed and transformed from various positions as the inquiry evolved. As with so many things, you go into it with a pre-conceived position. As you hear evidence, have discussions and talk to people on all sides of the debate—those in favour, those ambivalent and those vehemently opposed—you start to get a better understanding and a better feel for the issues. Certainly my position on this has changed somewhat over time.

It was also interesting to have some personal interactions with people who I knew while growing up and who have delved into the world of medicinal cannabis, in contrast to what the law stipulates, and to see what effect that has had on them as individuals compared to the person that I knew while growing up. That too plays a part in forming a view on what is the right way to go when it comes to medicinal cannabis.

I suggest to members that the report the committee has put forward under the chairmanship of Dr Bourke is quite comprehensive. It addresses a large number of issues, from supply, to use, to how it should be distributed under a potential scheme and, most importantly, the fact that the scheme should be done in conjunction with a national approach.

The committee waited for some considerable time in anticipation of the Senate delivering their report into a medicinal cannabis scheme. Even on the day of deliberations we were still waiting for that report to come through. We were hoping for an inquiry of the commonwealth parliament to guide some of our recommendations and a way forward. Unfortunately, the stars did not align to allow

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