Australia – Australia’s Federal Government has announced it will legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Current laws in the country state that marijuana is an illegal drug, carrying prison consequences for those who grow, use, possess, or sell it.

The announcement was made by Sussan Ley, Australia’s Health Minister, saying that the Government cares about people suffering from illnesses, so they want to provide them the most effective treatments, according to ABC.

Medical marijuana is used to reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, to improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, to treat chronic pain and muscle spasms, and others. Credit: Daily Public

An economic advantage

Susan Ley added that cultivating marijuana would allow Australia to get into a medicinal cannabis industry, just like Tasmania grows opium poppies for morphine.

She explains that importing the drug from Europe will be too expensive and difficult, making it hard for patients to acquire it. So, there are several reasons to get state governments interesting in growing the drug, she said to ABC.

Several states of Australia have announced that they will soon begin trials for medicinal marijuana although until the law doesn’t get the approval, growing the drug is still illegal.

Lucy Haslam and the people’s support

Over 246,000 signed a petition on to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, alleging that it wasn’t fair to criminalize people using the drug to get through their diseases.

Lucy Haslam, a retired nurse whose son Daniel used cannabis to ease the pain of cancer before dying at age 25, initiated this petition.

“It wasn’t until a fellow cancer sufferer suggested he try cannabis that his life with cancer became a little more tolerable. A sick young man reluctantly tried a joint and just like that, he felt so much better,” says a blog post from Lucy published this week.

Lucy Haslam said she considered the announcement as a victory though she hopes that it means to help patients to get the medicine when they need it, according to CNN.

On the other hand, Australia’s Government emphasized that this announcement doesn’t bring to the table the debate of the use marijuana for recreational purposes.

“Cannabis is classified as an illegal drug in Australia for recreational use and we have no plans to change that,” remarked Health Minister Ley, according to CNN.

Source: ABC