On Wednesday, Australia will introduce a Federal legislation permitting the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. This will take the country a step closer towards accessing medical cannabis for the benefit of many distressed patients.
According to Health Minister Sussan Ley, the bill has the support of all leading political parties. She confirmed that all these parties have already been briefed about the cannabis cultivation bill.
“In fact, I’ve had support across the chambers and around the country and I really believe this is bipartisan,” the minister said. At the same time, Ley clarified that the legislation is not for decriminalizing general cultivation or recreational use of cannabis, reports ABC News.
The legislation will mainly amend the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 for enhanced cultivation of medical cannabis under a national licensing and permit scheme. The national cannabis cultivation scheme will give seamless relief to patients languishing in painful conditions. The immediate beneficiaries of the new legislation will be a number of children afflicted with drug-resistant epilepsy in New South Wales.
The legislation is a bit complex, given its amalgamation of a number of laws from the states and territories, Ley said. But the government is hopeful that the legislation will be able to pass both in the House of Representatives and the Senate in one sitting.
The minister also added that wider consultations will continue. All law enforcement agencies will be taken into confidence for its implementation. Ley claimed that the government had been working closely with the states and territories in the development of the legislation.
Meanwhile, the trial of pharmaceutical drug Epidolex is already making progress. The government is expected to give its formal nod for the compassionate access to the drug by mid-March.
Reflecting on the milestone legislation, Minister Ley called it “Australia’s missing piece in a patient’s journey.” She mentioned that the most important part of the legislation will be the creation of a nationally-consistent cultivation scheme. This will speed up access to medicinal cannabis, unhindered by the the laws in states and territories, reports The Guardian.
“This is an important day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products,” Ley said.