Australia’s conservative Liberal-National federal government is introducing legislation to parliament to allow the cultivation and use of medicinal cannabis under a national framework.
The move follows the announcement by Victoria’s state Labor government last year that it will legalise the drug for medical use in 2017.
The ABC News reports that federal health minister Sussan Ley has briefed the Labor Party opposition on the legislation, which will allow cultivation through a national licensing and permit scheme.
Ms Ley believes she has bipartisan support for the legislation.
The drug will not be decriminalised for general cultivation or recreational use.
“We needed to make sure that we consulted with law enforcement, that we protect the integrity of the system and those who use it, and that we enabled the states to do what many of them are standing by ready to go ahead with,” she said.
Support for the use of medicinal cannabis for chronically and terminally ill patients has been growing in recent years, with NSW Liberal premier Mike Baird moved to act by the family of the late Daniel Haslam, who used cannabis to deal with his terminal colo-rectal cancer, despite the fact that his father was a former drug squad policeman.
ASX-listed Medlab Clinical became the first commercial business involved in therapeutic cannabis research last year after being selected by the NSW sate government to conduct the research at its Sydney laboratory.