Despite the Federal government’s legislation to legalise growing of medical cannabis, Queensland has ruled out any immediate steps to decriminalise cannabis, also known as marijuana.

State’s Health Minister Cameron Dick said there is a long way to go for it. However, the government notified its intent to encourage medicinal cannabis by releasing a draft legislation that will allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Queensland by the end of 2016.

Its focus will be on medical treatment sans any wider application. However, the step leaves the door open for future de-criminalisation of cannabis in the state, reports News Corp.

“Let’s let people use it for medicinal purposes and then if something good comes out of that, which I know it will, then maybe we can look at those things down the track,” Dick told Triple M Radio.

He made clear that Queensland Government has no current plans to decriminalize cannabis. “It is still a narcotic,” Dick claimed.

He also cautioned that cannabis, even though it is helping some patients, can hurt people unless regulated well. The minister said the Queensland Government will be holding a month-long consultation before introducing legislation in the parliament. He hoped the law could be passed by the end of 2016.

Dick also told The ABC that Queensland’s medical cannabis plan would strike a balance between the needs of patients and the safe administration of the drug. A medicinal cannabis scheme for terminally patients is already in place at New South Wales.  The program requires adult patients to register in advance with the support of a medical doctor.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Shadow Minister for Health, Mark McArdle welcomed the Federal Government’s legislation to allow medical cannabis in the country. He called for urgent steps to provide access to medical cannabis in Queensland, reports My Sun Shine Coast.

“This is welcome news and I congratulate the Minister on the initiative,” McArdle said.

“We will now have legislation that allows the growing and supply of medicinal cannabis to assist Queenslanders who are suffering incredible pain due to crippling illnesses and diseases. This has been a slow task but it would appear the end is coming into sight,” he added.