Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed his support for legalising medical marijuana. He wrote a letter addressed to Talkback radio host Alan Jones saying no further testing is needed if medical cannabis is considered legal in similar jurisdictions.
In a report by SMH, Mr Abbott said he has no problem with making cannabis for medical purposes legal just like he has no qualms about using opiates for a similar use. He believes a drug that has been validated for medical purposes should no longer be questioned about its legality. The prime minister added that medical marijuana should be available in Australia since it has been already been tested and proven safe in other countries.
Although Mr Abbott agrees with regulating drugs, he contends that if something was found to be safe in other countries, there should be no need to test it in Australia again. According to reports, the prime minister has not voiced out his opinion on the subject in public before. His letter was read out loud by Jones, who has been actively campaigning, on behalf of cancer patient Dan Haslam. The patient has been using medical cannabis to relieve his nausea from chemotherapy.
NSW Premier Mike Baird has previously approved a clinical trial of medical cannabis with results to be reported by the end of the year. He said he will formalise new guidelines and clarify NSW Police Department's discretion to not arrest adults with terminal cancer who are caught using cannabis for medical purposes.
Alex Wodak, a former director of Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, welcomed the support of Mr Abbott. He said the community's response to medical marijuana has been "very supportive." He confirmed that about 20 countries have legalised medical marijuana including 20 states in the U.S.
According to Greens senator Richard Di Natale, medical cannabis legislation will be introduced by members of the Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform within the month. The senator suggested that the Therapeutic Goods Administration should make a separate category for medical cannabis. Terminally-ill patients can only access the drug under a doctor's prescription. The office of the Prime Minister had confirmed that the letter reflected Mr Abbott's views about the matter.
International Business Times/September 18, 2014
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