Labor has implored the state government to legalise medicinal marijuana following a landmark ruling in Wagga Local Court.
The call comes after a magistrate handed down a bold non-conviction to a man caught growing 12 cannabis plants for his terminally ill father.
Labor Riverina candidate Tim Kurylowicz said the Wagga magistrate had made the right choice and the ball was in the government’s court.
“The magistrate chose not to punish someone for helping a dying man and good on him,” he said.
“We need the government to change the law rather than relying on the good conscious of our judges to protect people.”
Mr Kurylowicz said medical cannabis charges were tying up courts with cases that didn’t need to be there.
“The government might support it in principle but not in legislation – which is where it counts,” he said.
“We’re also missing out on the potential benefit of a whole new industry.”
State MP Daryl Maguire said support continued to grow for the use of medical cannabis, with trials being conducted and growing licences issued.
“In NSW we’ve moved ahead of everyone to work with the federal government and bring about medical cannabis use for those that are terminally ill,” he said.
“People might be concerned that it’s not fast enough but it is moving.
“The magistrate had a tough job to do and showed real compassion.”
Former Junee sergeant David McCann, who retired in 2010, said the current position surrounding medical cannabis put police in a difficult position.
“The whole question about medical marijuana is a hot topic but police have to uphold the law,” he said.
“Since it is illegal and you can be convicted it is our job to enforce it.”
While Mr McCann is neither against or in support of the decriminalisation of medical marijuana, he said there was no point advocating for change until the state government and medical authorities made a final decision.
“There are good, decent people who claim it does help loved ones who are suffering,” he said.
“It’s no good advocating in the Riverina because it could mean we are seen as a softer place to be for those who grow cannabis for illegal reasons.
“We could find our drug problem getting even worse.”