Health Minister Susan Ley has announced the Federal Government is set to legalise the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Australia.
The announcement closely follows a ruling by the Victorian Government earlier this month – with medicinal cannabis to be legalised by 2017.
Ley praised the ruling and opportunity for positive change on patients’ quality of life.
“I have heard stories of patients who have resorted to illegal methods of obtaining cannabis and I have felt for them, because with a terminal condition, the most important thing is quality of life and relief of pain. And we know that many people are calling out for medicinal cannabis.”
Alas, stoners need not rejoice – the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use isn’t remotely connected to this announcement, according to Ley.
“This is not a debate about legalisation of cannabis. This is not about drugs. This is not a product you smoke. This has nothing to do with that. Most commonly the product is an oil or a tincture that you put on your skin.”
Legalising cannabis for medicinal use is currently decided on a State level; the Federal Opposition has welcomed today’s announcement, but called on a nation-wide scheme.
Shadow Assistant Health Minister Stephen Jones said the legalisation should be made on a federal basis.
“It should not be a matter of whether you live in New South Wales or Victoria or somewhere else in Australia.
“If you are suffering from a terminal, if your child has drug resistant epilepsy suffering from life threatening fits, then you should have available to you through medical advice and appropriate channels, medicinal cannabis.”