Australia: What needs to happen now to get medicinal cannabis to those who need it?

This week minister for health Sussan Ley tabled amendments to our drugs act to allow growing cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes.

The amendments will create two licence classes (medicine and research), limit access only to “fit and proper” Australians with no ties to crime, and allow the importation of plants and seed.

This is an important milestone intended to (re)introduce lawful medicinal cannabis in Australia, after it was prohibited some 50 years ago.

Several further steps are required before people with distressing symptoms from conditions for which conventional medicines have been ineffective can obtain some relief from medicinal cannabis. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

The House of Representatives and Senate are expected to approve the proposed amendments. Almost two-thirds of the community have supported medicinal cannabis for many years.

The government seems, sensibly, to prefer a single national system for medicinal cannabis rather than see eight different state...

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