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Queensland, Australia Passes ‘Groundbreaking’ MMJ Legislation

A “groundbreaking” medical cannabis bill has been passed in Queensland, Australia providing regulatory framework allowing access to the drug by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Australian Associated Press reports. The measure will allow specialist doctors, or medical practitioners who apply with the department, to prescribe the drug to patients with severe chronic medical conditions.

During an appearance in front of the Parliament supporting the bill, Health Minister Cameron Dick explained that the measure enables access to both synthetic and “botanically derived” cannabis products, but does not allow for patients to home grow due to “significant safety risks.”

“This bill will change the paradigm for seriously ill patients who often feel compelled to seek out illicit cannabis treatment options,” he said in the report.

The legislation adds extra provisions to laws passed in the nation earlier this month, and comes two months after the Australian Capital Territory government announced plans to set up a medicinal cannabis program in the country’s capital of Canberra. New South Wales launched their own medical marijuana program in August. Under the national plan, medical cannabis was available in Queensland, however just one person in the region had been granted approval.

Michael Cope, president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, welcomed the new regime but said that steps need to be taken to secure a supply or else citizens would be forced back into the informal market.

The rules will take effect in March.

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