On March 2016, the Australian government passed a bill which allows the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The law permits the sale of medicinal marijuana subject to a doctor’s recommendation.

As in many countries around the world, the government of Australia decided to approve a law which allows the use of medical cannabis. The law is a breakthrough for the cannabis sector in the country, and enables cultivation, consumption, and trade of medical marijuana, as long as it is done according to the license given by the doctor and subject to the conditions of the local Ministry of Health.

What are the reasons leading to the law’s approval?

The law was actually approved by the health minister of Australia, Suzan Lee, who decided to approve the marijuana in order to alleviate the suffering of terminally ill. Before taking this decision, the minister was exposed to many terminally ill patients’ private stories which made her understand that medicinal marijuana has some qualities that may help and are already helping people. Cannabis can help ease the pains, increase patients’ appetite and generally help patients feel better. The law was legislated in order to legalize the use of the drug subject to limitations and supervision. Since marijuana was illegal patients looked for the drug in other ways. Awareness was raised after the Minister of Health saw a petition calling for change, signed by hundred thousand of citizens.

The federal marijuana laws in Australia

The federal law in Australia is not different from other places; defining cannabis as a dangerous drug, in the same level as heroin and LSD. The law which forbids the use of marijuana has existed for many years until the minister of health, Suzan Lee, changed it. The changes will allow the states in Australia to decide whether to allow the use of medical marijuana within their borders. Moreover, a large organization which would be in charge of the medical cannabis in Australia and supervises the process was established. This body acts as the regulator and will provide all certificates to growers or researchers wishing to grow medical cannabis for research and medicinal needs.

What happens in the meantime?

Until all required certificates and licenses for growing medical marijuana are received the Australian government decided to import medical marijuana and cannabis-based drugs from other countries, where the growing of marijuana for these causes has already been approved. This decision was made in order to assimilate the process that had already begun while establishing the body which will regulate this branch, in an organized manner.  Through this law, terminally ill patients will be able to consume marijuana without risking having a criminal record, and the central body will act in order to prevent the leaking of marijuana to the free market and its use for fun and leisure. The support of a supervising body will ensure that people who consume marijuana won’t drive and that the sale of marijuana is done in certified shops.

From the beauty queen to the experts- everyone calls for legalization
Not long ago, the use for medical purposes was illegal, since the committee that reviewed the issue decided that there was no real proof that marijuana contributes to patients’ health. Hundreds of thousands of people joined forces against the government and called for legalization. Among protesters was the Australian beauty queen, who claimed at the “miss universe” event that legalization could solve many problems and help cancer patients, and other experts in many disciplines who acknowledged that legalization has more benefits than disadvantages. The main claim is that through legalization the government can save money on enforcement expenses while enjoying a branch with an enormous profit potential.

Goodbye, stigma

With the help of the new law, the stigma attached to the cannabis branch is changing for the better. Many people understand the advantages hidden in the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. These days the common opinion is changing and there is a growing awareness of the advantages of medical cannabis. Furthermore, the understanding that terminally ill patients need a safe, legal environment to consume marijuana, while they are not seen as criminals, leads many countries around the world to take the first step on the way to change.