Australia Begins Makes Strides in Medical Marijuana Reform
August 10th, 2015
Policy, Top News
Australia will begin its first medical marijuana clinical trials using both vaporized leaf cannabis and a pharmaceutical this year, while a Senate committee representing all of the country’s major parties is preparing a Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill to legalize medical marijuana.
Surveys have shown that over two-thirds of Australians support the idea of medical marijuana use and only about 10% oppose it. Lawmakers from the Coalition, Labor Party, and crossbench senators, are working to create a system that oversees cannabis use, production, and distribution into medical end markets. Regulators also believe that the medical marijuana industry could become a major economic growth driver moving forward.
Despite the widespread public support, there are numerous regulatory complications with both Australian and international law. The Health Department domestically opposes the bill, saying that the regulatory system would be “complex and uncertain” and conflict with the existing Therapeutic Goods Act. On the international stage, Australia has existing obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that discourages such regulations.
The country’s first clinical trials will look at how cannabis can potentially alleviate symptoms in terminally ill patients including fatigue, loss of appetite, and insomnia in conjunction with a Newcastle hospital. In addition, the study will look at dosing and potential side effects associated with the use of the drug. If the study is successful, a second stage of the trial will be rolled out to patients across metropolitan and regional hospitals.
In the end, Australia seems to be moving in the right direction when it comes to the legalization and study of medical marijuana.
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