Melbourne, Feb 10 (IANS) A piece of legislation which would make the cultivation of medicinal marijuana legal throughout Australia will go before Federal parliament on Wednesday.
The establishment of a nationwide cannabis cultivation scheme follows several Australian state governments setting up trials last year, aiming to produce medical-grade marijuana for treatment proposes, Xinhua news agency reported.
Medicinal marijuana has long been hailed as a powerful pain-relief treatment from those suffering chronic diseases such as cancer, Dravet Syndrome, HIV/ AIDS, glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease.
Health Minister Susan Ley, who will introduce the proposed amendments relating to the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967, said the changes would give rise to a system whereby cultivation was regulated by permits.
Ley, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), said she had briefed cross-bench MPs on the scheme and believed it would pass through both house before the end of the week.
“We know the Greens are supportive,” Ley said on Wednesday.
“In fact, I’ve had support across the chambers and around the country and I really believe this is bipartisan.”
In 2015, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia explored legalisation of the trade as no illicit drugs can be imported into Australia under Federal law.
The Australian government has been criticized by the Greens for lagging behind the states’ efforts in making medicinal cannabis more accessible for seriously ill patients.
But Ley said the extra time taken was necessary as many key stakeholders needed to be incorporated in the law-making process, particularly due to the policy’s relation to a banned drug.
“This is very complex legislation given that it brings together so many different strands of so much at state and territory level,” Ley said on Wednesday.
“We needed to make sure that we consulted with law enforcement, that we protect the integrity of the system and those who use it, and that we enabled the states to do what many of them are standing by ready to go ahead with.”