The benefits of medicinal marijuana have been extolled by United States residents for a while, and now it’s Australia’s turn. After passing legislation in February, this Sunday saw the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 come into being. This means people or organisations in Australia are now able to apply for a license to cultivate and manufacture medical cannabis in Australia.
How does one apply? (We hear you asking.) Well don’t get too excited, recreational weed-smokers. The Office of Drug Control will accept applications for cannabis cultivation from people deemed “fit and proper.”
Interested people and businesses will have to pass a security test set by the office, and show the proposed location they’d be growing medicinal marijuana in, to ensure it’s not shady (metaphorically, and perhaps literally).
According to the ABC, hundreds of people and businesses both local and international, have registered their interest in getting a license. Obtaining a license will also mean organisations are free to conduct cannabis-related research.
Australia’s health minister Sussan Ley said on Sunday that the legislation would give patients requiring medicinal marijuana and their doctors safe and legal access to cannabis, according to an SMH report.
“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” said Ley. “These new laws change that situation by providing for a domestic supply of medicinal cannabis products that are not readily available for import.”
Muddying the (bong) waters, each Australian state still has its own regulations around legalised medicinal cannabis, meaning applicants will also have meet the guidelines set by their individual state or territory as well.
Victoria is the first state to have successfully legalised the plant for medical use and other states are not far behind.
It’s not quite the full-blown decriminalisation some locals might be gunning for, but the roll out could make a world of difference for Australian patients.