Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick has introduced legislation into parliament to legalise the wider use of medicinal cannabis.
Mr Dick said the legislation, which will be debated in parliament later in the year, is aimed at establishing a framework for the legal use of medicinal cannabis after overwhelming public support for the change. Mr Dick said he wanted to make it clear the legislation would not legalise recreational cannabis use or allow people to grow their own, even for therapeutic purposes.
"Medicinal cannabis, regardless of its form, is a dangerous drug," he told parliament. "When used improperly, or as an alternative to proven conventional treatments without close medical supervision, it is potentially harmful."
Mr Dick said his department would develop a public awareness campaign to ensure people were aware that non-medicinal cannabis remained illegal. There would also be a cap on the amount of medicinal cannabis that could be dispensed to patients to limit the risk of the drug "being diverted for unlawful purposes", he said. Last year, Queensland became the first state to legalise the use of restricted medicinal cannabis products, Mr Dick said.
"While this was an important first step to permit the lawful use of medicinal cannabis products, a more comprehensive and robust regulatory framework is required," he said. "The bill before the house provides that framework."
Today's announcement follows the death of Rumer Rose, a Queensland toddler with cancer whose father pleaded guilty to giving her cannabis oil in 2014. The three-year-old died early yesterday. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was compelled to act after hearing stories about relief the drug could bring.
"I have been moved by the stories of families with young children with epilepsy, suffering life-threatening seizures, and what they have to go through on a daily basis," Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 was referred to parliament's health committee for consideration.
9 News.au/May 10, 2016
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