Australia’s Prime Minister Supports Medical Cannabis
September 17th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the legalization of medical cannabis in a letter to talkback radio host Alan Jones. In the letter read live on Wesneday, Mr. Abbott indicated that no further testing should be needed on the drug if it’s legal in similar jurisdictions. The drug has been legalized for medical purposes in about 20 countries and more than 20 U.S. states.
“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” said Mr. Abbott in the letter. “I agree that the regulation of medicines is a thicket of complexity, bureaucracy and corporate and institutional self interest. My basic contention is that something that has been found to be safe in a reliable jurisdiction shouldn’t need to be tested again here.”
Mr. Jones had been campaigning on behalf of 24-year-old Dan Haslam, who has been using medical cannabis to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy to treat his terminal cancer. The popular radio program captured the attention of the media and prompted the reply by Mr. Abbott in the letter dated August 23, 2014. Mr. Haslam’s mother had also launched a popular online campaign to decriminalize medical use.
NSW Premier Mike Baird also announced earlier this week that he would formalize new guidelines to clarify the NSW police discretion to not charge terminally ill adults if they are caught using cannabis for pain relief. State opposition leader Daniel Andrews followed up by promising to legalize access to medical marijuana for Victorians with life-threatening conditions if Labor wins office in November.
Notably, some cannabis-based pharmaceuticals have been permitted within the country, including Sativex – a mouth spray for people with multiple sclerosis. Whether or not the efforts result in broader legalization remain to be seen, but public support from the Prime Minister seems promising.
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