“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,” Minister for Health Sussan Ley said in a statement yesterday after Parliament passed a measure legalizing medical marijuana.
For the first time in Australia, cannabis can be legally grown for medicinal and scientific purposes thanks to the new amendments to country’s Narcotic Drugs Act. Minister of Health Ley described this legislative efforts as ,”the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey.”
The push to legalize medical marijuana in Australia ended on the one-year anniversary of Daniel Haslam’s death. When he was only 20 years old, Haslam was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and spent years battling the disease with chemotherapy for five years. Due to the country’s laws at the time, Haslam has to use medicinal marijuana illegally to ease his pain and nausea before his life ended last February.
“It is incredibly fitting that today we are passing this bill which is one step towards making medicinal cannabis accessible to people like Dan,” Australian Senator Richard Di Natale stated before Parliament on Wednesday.
Mary Haslam took up the mantle of this important when she founded medical marijuana advocacy group United In Compassion that petitioned the government to legalize medicinal cannabis. However, the group reminds people that aspects of legalization still need to be finalized, such as regulations and production licenses. At the time, it is unclear when medical marijuana plants would be harvested and ready for purchase by prescription-carrying patients.
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