A bill introduced in the Australian Parliament last week would legalize medical marijuana growing across the country. If passed, the bill would allow for a system of licenses and permits for growers to supply medical cannabis to doctors for clinical trials in preparation for future use by medical patients.
As of now, some Australian states have their own medical marijuana programs; however, supply for processors, researchers and scientists has been hard to come by up to this point since the entire supply has to come from overseas.
"Allowing controlled cultivation locally will provide the critical missing piece for a sustainable legal supply of safe medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients in the future," said Australia's Health Minister Sussan Ley.
Chances for the bill’s passage look good since Australia’s main opposition party has pledged support. It should be the first step to sick people in the country getting access to quality medical cannabis to treat their ailments — a choice in what medicine they decide to ingest.
“This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications, and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” Ley told Parliament.
Many governments around the world are seeing their way to opening discussions about legalization, medical or otherwise. For example, closer to the U.S., Mexico and Canada are both on paths to the eventual legalization of recreational cannabis.
As the U.S. liberalizes its marijuana policy, countries around the world are no longer feeling the pressure to toe the line when it comes to prohibition. Since that pressure mainly came from us, this makes sense. Now countries are free to follow their own policies and, in the face of the monumental failure of prohibition, they are.