The federal government is introducing legislation to parliament to allow the cultivation and use of medicinal cannabis under a national framework today.
The move follows Victoria’s announcement last year that it will legalise the drug for medical use in 2017. NSW is also currently conducting trials into a cannabis-based drug, Epidolex, with a focus on children with epilepsy, and leading the state-based focus on medical marijuana.
The ABC reports that federal health minister Sussan Ley has briefed Labor on the legislation, which will allow cultivation via a national licensing and permit scheme, and believes she has bipartisan support.
The drug will not be decriminalised for general cultivation or recreational use.
Minister Ley is hopeful both houses of parliament will approve the new laws in this session, but told the ABC it was complex legislation that needed to deal with a range of state and territory policies.
“We needed to make sure that we consulted with law enforcement, that we protect the integrity of the system and those who use it, and that we enabled the states to do what many of them are standing by ready to go ahead with,” she said.
Support for the use of medicinal cannabis for chronically and terminally ill patients has been growing in recent years, with NSW premier Mike Baird moved to act by the family of the late Daniel Haslam, who used cannabis to deal with his terminal colo-rectal cancer, despite the fact that his father was a former drug squad policeman.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews made medicinal cannabis an election pledge after meeting young children with severe epilepsy whose symptoms show remarkable improvement from cannabis use.
ASX-listed Medlab Clinical became the first commercial business involved in therapeutic cannabis research last year after being selected by the NSW Government to conduct the research at its Sydney laboratory