The Australian Parliament has adopted legislation that legalizes medical marijuana countrywide. Beginning in November, Australians will get a legal right to consume cannabis for medical purposes, but weed use will be heavily controlled by the government.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration—a national agency similar to the FDA in the U.S.—has already published its decision to legalize cannabis for medical use, though the federal government is still working on the regulation structure.
At the beginning of this year, the country already applied changes to its Narcotic Drug Act that permitted pot cultivation for scientific and medical use, but the adult use of weed was still prohibited.
According to clinical trials conducted by American scientists, medical weed showed a positive effect in relieving chronic pain and muscle cramps, as well as reducing the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients. The herb can also be used in medicine for stimulating appetite, treating migraines and inflammatory bowel disease.
However, the local officials still need some time after cannabis legalization to prepare a fully functioning system for marijuana licensed doctors and patients. Some cannabis advocates also fear that medical weed will be too expensive for regular patients.
Moreover, Lucy Haslam, who leads a local activist campaign, has concerns about the doctors' and patients' knowledge on the effect of medical cannabis, and she thinks that some work should be done in order to educate people and allay their fears about marijuana.
Haslam began to support the legalization of medical weed after she had lost her 25-year-old son. Though her son died of cancer, she saw how marijuana relieved the last days of her child. Now, she is happy to see that struggling patients will get a chance to ease their conditions with medical cannabis in Australia.
After its legalization, marijuana will be added to the Schedule 8 list of controlled drugs that can be obtained by prescription from a specially licensed physician and used for therapeutic purposes.