Medicinal cannabis: new legislation a helpful step

The Turnbull government has passed an historic piece of legislation yesterday legalising the cultivation of medical cannabis.

In a statement released by the office of Susan Ley MP, minister for health, aged care and sport, it was stated that this legislation is “the ‘missing piece’ for Australian patients and their doctors to access a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis to products for the management of painful and chronic conditions.”

Rosemary Hudson Miller, associate general secretary (justice and mission) at the Uniting Church WA, welcomed the national licensing scheme for growers of medicinal marijuana for the management of chronic conditions and pain.

“It is consistent with our calls to government made at the 2014 meeting of the WA Synod,” she said. “This is a helpful move towards having this medication available to doctors for the treatment of conditions which do not respond to other medication.”

In September of 2014 the Synod of the Uniting Church WA released a statement of support to change medicinal cannabis laws in Western Australia. At the time, Rosemary noted that the success of medical cannabis use was evidence-based and that more than 20 American states have legalised the use of medical cannabis.

In the statement posted to the Department of Health’s website, Susan Ley acknowledged the work of patient advocates in bringing the issue of medicinal cannabis into public discourse. She also noted that this change in legislation does not relate to the decriminalisation of cannabis for general cultivation or recreational use, which remains an issue for the states and territories.

Elaenor Nield

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