A proposal to legalize medical cannabis in New South Wales, Australia’s largest and most populous state, gained huge support this week as Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbot gave his approval on a weekly radio program.
In fact, Abbot said that the proposed clinical trials don’t go far enough. Abbot says that there shouldn’t need to be clinical trials for a plant that is already legal for doctor’s recommendation in other Australian states.
“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Australian radio host Alan Jones last month. “I was under the impression that the personal use of cannabis was no longer an offence in NSW. If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose though and is being administered safely there should be no question of its legality. And if a drug that is proven to be safe abroad is needed here it should be available. 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.”
New South Wales Premier Mike Baird says that the clinica trials will move forward, adding that he expects to have results back by the end of the year. He also says he will instruct New South Wales police to no longer arrest cannabis users who are terminally ill and are currently illegally using the plant.
But there is push-back. NSW Health Minister David Davis has said he won’t allow for raw cannabis to be dispensed or grown. Instead, Australians would have to use pharmaceutically-derived medicines like Sativex.