The Courier-Mail

State reveals costs of medical cannabis trials

- SARAH VOGLER

A MEDICAL cannabis trial aimed at helping Queensland children with drug-resistant epilepsy is expected to cost taxpayers about $3 million.

Health Minister Cameron Dick detailed the probable cost to the state of the trial – being led by New South Wales – when quizzed during yesterday’s parliament­ary estimates hearing.

Both he and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced their intention to participat­e in the trial in April, but have yet to allocate funds officially in the state Budget.

“I anticipate it will be about the same investment as NSW, probably $3 million, but I am not going to commit public money until we know the nature of the trial to be conducted,” Mr Dick told the hearing.

“We are working closely with NSW to develop the parameters of a clinical trial.”

He said the money would be drawn from the existing health budget.

Mr Dick came under fire from Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle during the estimates hearing, when Mr McArdle accused the Government of announc- ing its involvemen­t in the trials without knowing any details.

Mr Dick said the finer details of the trial were still being worked out.

“What we will do is we will scope out what we are going to do as part of the trials first,” Mr Dick said. “Queensland will be an active participan­t.

“We are in discussion with NSW counterpar­ts to collaborat­e on research design and establishi­ng a process for Queensland­ers to participat­e in trials. We will commence trials ... in 2016 as details are finalised.”

Mr Dick said the state’s focus was on investigat­ing the use of medicinal cannabis for children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

“This is the first trial conducted into the possible benefit of medicinal cannabis in Queensland’s said.

“There is one area of interest for us – children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy.

“I know that the Chief

history,” he Health Officer in Queensland is talking to the Chief Health Officer in NSW regularly, and we are trying to develop how we will work with that.”

Use of medicinal cannabis is decriminal­ised in 23 US states as well as in Canada,

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