The Queensland Parliament has passed the medicinal cannabis legislation unanimously on Wednesday night. Under The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016, Queenslanders of any age with severe epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea and other conditions can be prescribed with the drug starting March next year.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says that the legislation was a landmark for Australians who have campaigned for the drug’s use. Health Minister Cameron Dick adds that it shows that Queensland is leading Australia in giving access to safe and controlled medicinal cannabis treatment to those who need it.
Medical practitioners are responsible for monitoring the use of cannabis while being used as part of a patient’s treatment plan. Using cannabis without approval from authorities is still illegal.
The cannabis bill will be reviewed after two years. As of now, only one patient has been legally taking cannabis due to an inoperable brain tumor, which has been considered during the bill’s passage.
Lindsay Carter suffered from violent seizures and his family brought him to Washington for cannabis treatment. However, when he returned to Australia, the seizures came back.
The teenager was allowed to use cannabis last year, thanks to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation Act. Child Safety Minister and Waterford MP Shannon Fentiman argued that they need to look at Lindsay Carter’s perspective to understand why passing such bill is necessary.
While the bill has been welcomed by many, others have also criticized it. Cannabis oil advocate Rebecca Brisdon says that those who need cannabis treatment do not have time to wait until next year to receive it.
Lindsay Carter’s mother and Medical Cannabis Advisory Group spokeswoman Lanai Carter says that the legislation would only delay and restrict the access to cannabis treatment.
Civil advocates urge the Queensland Government to create a local industry to supply medicinal cannabis. Queensland Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Michael Cope cites that Queensland should manufacture its own cannabis because there are only a few nations that sell the product.
As of now, medicinal cannabis has only been allowed legally in the US, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy and Spain.