Generally speaking, reaction to Australia passing legislation supporting medical cannabis has been widely welcomed.
Announced by Minister for Health Sussan Ley yesterday, amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act will be the basis for “safe, legal and reliable” cannabis to be used in the manufacture of medical marijuana products.
As we mentioned yesterday, Australian Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale welcomed the passing of the legislation, with some reservations.
He also acknowledged that it wasn’t just politicians that helped bring it over the line, but ordinary Australians such as Dan Haslam; who passed away one year ago yesterday.
Mr. Haslam, who used medical cannabis to battle the pain associated with bowel cancer, campaigned for medicinal cannabis during the final few months of his life. His mother Lucy, a registered nurse, also took up the cause.
“It’s Dan’s first anniversary and it’s just something special that it has occurred today of all days, and that was completely out of left field and it wasn’t expected to happen,” Mrs Haslam stated yesterday.
Mrs. Haslam also expressed interest in being involved with an advisory council that will be set up as part of implementing regulations.
“I’m sure they will have some form of patient or consumer advocate and I’d definitely put my hand up if that was an opportunity I could take part in,” she said.
In Queensland, Trinity Beach medical cannabis crusader Debbi Cliff, who is terminally ill with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, also applauded passing of the legislation.
“It’s going to provide a lot of relief to people with a range of conditions,” she said.
“Australia can really capitalise on it as well as get some genuine economic benefits if we go about it the right way – there’s potential for things such as hemp to be used for clothing, food, fuel.”
Across the ditch in New Zealand, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne welcomed changes to Australia’s Narcotic Drugs Act; stating it was “catching up to New Zealand”.
News of Australia’s move echoed around the world. However, some of the reporting was a little over-exuberant and greatly exaggerated what is being permitted. The new legislation will see medical cannabis heavily regulated and access to medicines very restricted.