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Fact sheet for adults with a terminal illness and their carers

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The Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme

The NSW Government has developed the Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme to extend compassion to adults with a terminal illness. 

The Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme provides guidelines for NSW police officers to assist them in determining appropriate circumstances in which to use their discretion not to charge adults with terminal illness who use cannabis to alleviate their symptoms, and carers who assist them.

Eligibility

NSW residents who are aged 18 years and over who have a terminal illness are eligible to be registered for the scheme.

Each eligible adult may nominate up to 3 carers who will be registered under the scheme.  A person may be nominated as the carer for a maximum of 3 adults with a terminal illness.

Certification

To register for the scheme, a medical practitioner who is registered in Australia and involved in your ongoing care must certify that you have a terminal illness as defined by the scheme.

For the purpose of the NSW Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme, terminal illness is defined as: ‘an illness which, in reasonable medical judgement will, in the normal course, without the application of extraordinary measures or of treatment unacceptable to the patient, result in the death of the patient.’

You will need to provide your medical practitioner with a copy of this registration form and ask your medical practitioner to complete Part B of the registration form.

Registration

You will also need to complete Part A of the registration form by providing your details, along with the details of your nominated carer(s). You may nominate up to three carers aged 18 years and over. A carer can be nominated for no more than three registered participants.

Once Part A and Part B of the registration form are complete, please post the completed original registration form to:

The Director
Community Relations Unit
NSW Department of Justice
Locked Bag 5111
Parramatta NSW 2124

After your registration has been processed, you will receive a letter enclosing copies of your registration documentation for yourself and each of your nominated carers. Registered adults and carers must produce their documentation to members of the NSW Police Force upon request.

Please ensure that your registration details are kept up-to-date by completing a registration form with revised information when necessary.

For registration enquiries please contact the Community Relations Unit, NSW Department of Justice on 02 8688 7586, or email communityrelations@agd.nsw.gov.au

For all other enquiries, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page or please contact the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Police discretion

Police may exercise their discretion not to charge adults with a terminal illness if:

• the adult with a terminal illness is registered;
• the adult possesses no more than the specified maximum amount of cannabis outlined in table 1 below; and
• the use of cannabis by the terminally ill person is at their usual place of residence or any domestic residence.

Police may exercise their discretion not to charge carers of adults with a terminal illness if:

• the carer is registered;
• the carer possesses no more than the specified maximum amount of cannabis outlined in table 1 below; and
• the administration/supply of the cannabis by the carer is to a registered terminally ill adult at their usual place of residence, or any domestic residence.

Maximum amounts are listed in table 1 below.

Cannabis form

Specified maximum amount

Cannabis leaf

15 grams

Cannabis oil

1 gram

Cannabis resin

2.5 grams

Activities not covered by the scheme

Activities not covered by the scheme include:

  • supplying cannabis (including cannabis products) to persons who are not registered under the scheme
  • cultivating cannabis
  • using cannabis in public
  • possessing cannabis over the specified maximum amount
  • drug driving. You cannot drive if you use cannabis, and you cannot supervise a learner driver if you use cannabis. Traces of cannabis remain in your system long after you have used it (sometimes up to a month or longer) and you could test positive to cannabis during a roadside random drug test.

More information

More about the Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme.

Clinical trials are being established by the NSW Government to further explore the use of cannabis and/or cannabis products in providing relief for patients suffering from a range of debilitating or terminal illnesses.