An Australian Senate committee comprising members from each of the country’s major political parties is working on a bill that would legalize medical marijuana there.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the coalition will “strongly recommend” that Parliament pass the bill, which would create a ‘medical marijuana regulator’ who would have the power to oversee all aspects of the medical marijuana sector, including production and distribution.
Although some have warned of regulatory complications concerning both Australian and international law, more than two-thirds of Australians currently support legalizing medical marijuana and just 9% of the country opposes it, according to a survey by Palliative Care Australia.
The Australian Health Department has come out strongly against the bill, insisting that it would create a regulatory gap and inconsistencies or conflicts with current laws, including the Therapeutic Goods Act.
Senator Di Natale has argued that the medical marijuana bill would not overlap with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which approves and markets only pharmaceutical drugs: “I can understand why someone like Medicines Australia might be opposed,” the senator said last month. “It doesn’t conform to the model of a traditional pharmaceutical and some people would argue it is a competitor.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has in the past expressed support for a medical cannabis program, stating last year that “I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates.”
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