Today Victoria has moved towards legalising cannabis oil after it was revealed that the Government has received a Victorian Law Reform Commission report on how to make it legal, which will be tabled in Parliament in the next fortnight.
This means Victorians could soon begin growing marijuana for medicinal purposes, as Victoria does not have the power to import the drug, leading to the likelihood it would need to be grown locally, reports the ABC.
Prior to the election, the Labor party promised to legalise medicinal cannabis oil for “exceptional circumstances”, and Health Minister Jill Hennessey has said medicinal cannabis oil could make a huge difference as an alternative medicine.
“I’ve met many parents whose use of medicinal cannabis has significantly changed the quality of life of their children — these are kids with severe epilepsy, and a range of other syndromes,” she said.
“Those parents have been forced to choose between breaking the law or treating their children in a way that has been extremely effective for them.
“We want to end that choice, and that’s why we asked the Law Reform Commission how we should go about legalising medicinal cannabis, not if we should.”
Geoff Munro, national policy manager at the Australian Drug Foundation, said he supported the idea of manufacturing marijuana locally.
“It seems appropriate that Victoria could produce its own supply, after all Australia already produces opium poppies for the production of morphine in Tasmania.
“But obviously the cultivation would have to be quite secure. Access would have to be restricted”.
Like poppies, Mr Munro believes marijuana could boost Victoria’s economy.
Greens leader Greg Barber said while he supported the move, there are some big decisions to be made in Canberra regarding “the growing, the production, the prescribing and the consumption that all needs legal support, and much of that is covered under federal law,” he said.
“We are in favour of Victorians and Australians having access to the best medical care, and if cannabis products can provide superior outcomes for people who are unwell and suffering various ailments we are in favour of [it].
“As long as we draw a distinction between medicinal and other uses.
“We can’t see a problem, as long as the cannabis products are prescribed under medical supervision, the dosage is controlled and the outcomes are evaluated according to scientific trial”, Mr Munro said.
Regardless of logistics, this is a huge step forward for the sick and injured in our country, with Victoria potentially about to become the first Australian state to legalise marijuana.
“This is a matter of great complexity, and we need to look at all sorts of things like how do you get supply, what category of patients should get access, what regulation you put around it, how do we make sure it’s not subject to abuse,”Ms Morrissey said.
“We want to make sure we do it in a way that is safe, effective and sustainable”.
Tell us, do you think the Victoria government will come good on their election promise? Should this become a federal issue and legalised Australia-wide? Are you pro-medicinal marijuana?