If you’ve been waiting for medicinal marijuana to be legalised, you’re in luck.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has announced marijuana will be legalised for medicinal use Australia wide in November.
But if you’re eager to get your hands on some, you might not find it to be so easy.
The Daily Mail Australia is reporting the drug will be strictly controlled, with the federal government working to create a national regulator.
So what led to this decision finally being made after years of debate and discussion?
According to the Canberra Times, the final decision came after the Federal Government issued bipartisan support to change the Narcotic Drugs Act to allow the growing and production of marijuana for medicinal use in Australia.
Clinical trials have shown evidence that marijuana can help treat chronic pain and potentially even reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy.
While medical marijuana campaigners see it as a step in the right direction, they believe it’s just the beginning of a long road ahead.
Lucy Haslam, whose son Dan has gained from using the drug for medicinal purposes, has been a driving force behind the campaign.
She told Fairfax Media the industry was ‘bound up in red tape’ and feared it might be too difficult and too expensive to access the drug.
“My fear is that the industry will become so expensive that patients won’t be able to access a legal supply at an affordable price,” she said.
She also spoke of the work that still needs to be done in breaking down the stigma surrounding medicinal marijuana use.
“There’s also a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of who remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients,” she said.
Recreational use of marijuana will remain illegal, although the Sex Party in Victoria is pushing for marijuana to be fully legalised for all uses.
Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten moved a motion in Victorian Parliament this week, calling for debate on legalising the drug.
Ms Patten was quoted in The Age as saying the time has come.
“Most people understand that the overseas experience of legalising cannabis for recreational use has had only upsides,” she said.
She’s also pushing for prohibitions on bongs and other marijuana paraphernalia to be lifted, and believes legalising marijuana use will unclog the court systems.
That debate is set to take place on September 14, with a bill to be introduced to parliament later this year.