Another nation can be added to the list of those who now allow federal access to medical marijuana. Australian Parliament voted Wednesday on legislature that legalizes the production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. They are among only a small handful of countries who currently have laws like this, with a few more hopefully soon to follow suit.
The amendment approved makes changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967, now allowing cannabis to be grown legally across the country. This also means that lawmakers will need to establish an authority to oversee the licensing, production and distribution of the plant – currently it is now legal to grow, but the rest is still up in the air.
“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,” Minister for Health Sussan Ley said in a statement. “This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.”
Many aspects of a medical marijuana program could take time to fully develop – but government officials are prepared to make changes to the legislature as needed during this process. They have yet to determine what types of marijuana will be grown, how it will be distributed to patients, let alone they still have to get doctors to agree to work with patients seeking this alternative treatment.
Among the many lawmakers and activists who helped to bring this new law into reality is Lucy Haslam, who ran the campaign and created an organization called United in Compassion. She created the group after her son died last year to cancer. While petitioning for reform on these laws she was not shy to tell lawmakers that she used cannabis to help her son get through his roughest days.
“[Daniel] would really be at peace today,” Haslam said after hearing Parliament’s decision. “He didn’t want to die…but it would give him peace to know this is going to help so many Australians. I think he’d be proud.”
I’m sure her son is proud and it is so nice to see that the Australian government took their citizens seriously about this situation. All people are asking for is legal and safe access to a plant that has a multitude of medicinal properties – and the Australian government saw this and decided to help people gain safe access to a natural medicine.