Medical marijuana to be legalised in Australia from November

Substance will remain strictly controlled – with only those prescribed the drug allowed to take it

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The Independent Online

Medicinal cannabis will become legal in Australia from November, after a landmark decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The substance will remain strictly controlled – with only those prescribed the drug allowed to take it - following the landmark decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Several clinical trials provide evidence that cannabis can help patients with dealing with chronic pain and cancer with few side effects.

The drug can also be used to help stimulate appetite for those with HIV, treat inflammatory bowel disease and migraines.

The decision follows the Federal Parliament’s resolve to support changing the Narcotic Drugs Act to allow cannabis to be legally grown in Australia if it is for medicinal purposes.

Yet with a national regulator not yet set up, campaigners for the legalisation of the drug warned that medicinal cannabis might still be difficult to get hold of, despite the decision.

Lucy Haslam, who has worked to get the drug legalised for medical use, told the Canberra Times that the suggested legal medical marijuana industry could be “so bound up in red tape” it wouldn’t work.

"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.

"There's also a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of who remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medical cannabis to patients."

The medical marijuana industry could make millions for drugs companies in Australia. Tilray, a Canadian company that has been testing cannabis on chemotherapy patients and was looking to import the drug into the country said the decision to legalise the drug could spawn a “billion dollar industry”.

“In Australia, we think that medical cannabis has potential to be a billion-dollar industry, and can create thousands of skilled jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in foreign investment,” the company’s president Brendan Kennedy told news.com.au.

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