Medical Cannabis

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By Aleah Espanta
The Victorian Labor Party will be calling to legalise the use of medical cannabis to treat people in exceptional circumstances if they win at November’s state election.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said that Victorians with terminal or life-threatening conditions should be able to legally access the drugs without having to face criminal prosecution.

“Children are in pain, families are suffering, people are living in fear, and outdated laws are getting in the way,” Mr Andrews said.

“In some cases, parents are forced to choose between breaking the law and watching their child suffer.”

If elected, Mr Andrews said he would seek advice from the Victorian Law Reform Commission on how the prescription, manufacture and distribution of medical cannabis would be regulated. The VLRC will be asked to report no later than 31 August 2015.

Daniel Andrews

Daniel Andrews

The role of doctors in prescribing and managing patient care, and the appropriate form of medical cannabis permitted for use such as sprays, tincture and tablets will also be considered.

It is a well-known fact that cannabis oil can have a powerful effect on relieving conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, glaucoma and Parkinson’s Disease.

“I heard these stories, I’ve met with the parents and I’ve seen it change people’s lives,” Mr Andrews said.

But he insists that legalising marijuana is strictly for medical use and not recreational.

Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings has thrown in his support saying that legalising medical cannabis is “about helping sick people live a better life” and not about recreational drug use.

“The results speak for themselves – this substance can change the life of a person suffering a debilitating illness,” he said.

Although the Australian Sex Party President Fiona Patten has welcomed Labor’s support, she expressed her uncertainty due to “their deeply-rooted attitudes” towards drugs in the past.

“They can say they will set up trials and enquiries just to win votes but the truth of the matter is that both major parties are deeply conservative when it comes to drug law reform,” Ms Patten said.

And she also questioned other politicians approach on the restriction and said they should focus on “legalising and regulating cannabis for medical, industrial and recreational purposes.”

“Politicians must learn that you cannot legalise one area of the cannabis plant and criminalise others. Medical, recreational and industrial cannabis needs to be considered as a whole,” Ms Patten said.

“If it’s good enough to ameliorate epilepsy, help you sleep at night and stop you from being sick on anti-cancer drugs in one form, then we should at least stop sending people to jail for using it like beer or wine.”

The use of cannabis for medical purposes is not allowed anywhere in Australia but it is legal in Canada, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain, Italy, and over 20 states in the U.S.

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