Australia introduces bill to legalize medical marijuana

A bill was introduced in the Australian parliament on Wednesday that will allow the legal cultivation of marijuana for medical or scientific purposes.

The bill is designed to create a national licensing and permit regime that will eventually allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with chronic pain on clinical trials. There are already several Australian states that have committed to cultivation of marijuana for medical and research purposes but they cannot do so because of federal laws that prohibit growing of the plant. As a result, manufacturers, researchers, and patients in these states on clinical trials must use international supplies of legal medicinal marijuana, often at considerable expense.
Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley said: "Allowing controlled cultivation locally will provide the critical missing piece for a sustainable legal supply of safe medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients in the future." Marijuana will not be available to the general public or other patients. Ley noted that marijuana was seen as beneficial for patients experiencing chronic pain:
Gaelan Bloomfield, manager at MMJ Phylo Tech Ltd. said:"The market for medicinal cannabis in Australia is substantial. The number of patients that could be targeted could be people with epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, while there is the other spectrum of people with chronic pain."The company was the first listed medicinal medicinal marijuana company. Its initial public offering last year was three times oversubscribed. The main opposition party in Australia also has pledged support for the bill and so it is almost bound to become law. A survey by the Australian government in 2013 found 69 percent of those responding supported a change in the law to allow use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is not new. In 2737 BC, Emperor Shen-Nung, also a pharmacologist wrote a book on treatment methods. He recommended marijuana for constipation, gout, rheumatism, and absent-mindedness. In traditional Chinese medicine, marijuana is one of 50 fundamental herbs. A government survey of 24,000 Australians nationwide found in 2013 that 69 percent of respondents supported a change of the law to permit cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Preparing to enter the Australian medicinal marijuana market are Dixie Elixirs in the US state of Colorado where recreational marijuana is already legal. The company makes cannabis edibles and topicals. As of mid-2014, 23 states plus the District of Columbia passed medical marijuana laws. More have joined since then. Many of the laws conflict with federal government regulations.
In Canada, there are Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations that make it legal to possess, consume, or grow marijuana under the conditions set out in the regulations. In November last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Liberal government intended to make marijuana legal for recreational use. Many medical authorities still oppose the use of marijuana and political authorities even more so. In 1936 a propaganda film against marijuana, Reefer Madness, was produced to warn youth not to use it. It does not seem to have worked but the film, which is appended, has become a cult classic.


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